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What If You Can’t Win a Nobel Prize?

The Noble Prizes honor innovative creations
 Listen to streaming audio of this column | MP3

You know about the Noble Prize; but did you know that there’s also the Ig Noble Prize?

Every year Harvard University hosts the Ig Noble Prizes, which are supposed to recognize scientific innovations that seem bizarre—and yet strangely reasonable.

For example, among this year’s winners were scientists who:

  • Studied why woodpeckers don’t get headaches;
  • Calculated the number of photographs you have to take to ensure no one closed his eyes; and
  • Invented an electromechanical teenager repellent, which emits a noise that teenagers can hear but not adults.

The point is that the innovation society should recognize both those scientific efforts that make us think and those that make us smile.

Incidentally, that teenager repellent? That received the Ig Noble Peace Prize.

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Written By

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas. Follow him on Twitter: @MerrillMatthews.

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