The Nobel Prize. The Lasker Prize. The Fields Medal. The MacArthur Fellowships (a.k.a. “the genius grants”). The Kavli Prize. The Ig Nobels.
Among the various awards given for scientific achievement, the Ig Nobels may not be the most coveted — but they’re certainly the most fun. The winners are selected by the Annals of Improbable Research to recognize breakthroughs that first make you laugh, then make you think. “The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology,” according to the organization’s website.
The 2012 Ig Nobels Prizes were handed out Thursday night at Harvard University, a place that knows a thing or two about academic achievement. Winners traveled from as far away as Russia, Japan, Rwanda, France and California to participate in the celebration, and no fewer than five actual Nobel Laureates were on hand to serve as presenters.
Here are some highlights of the “honored” research:
The Neuroscience Prize went to four Americans who showed it was possible to pick up signs of brain activity in a dead salmon.