Friday, October 5, 2007

In hamsters, Viagra helps alleviate jet lag

Yes, researchers have proven it... and last night at Harvard, they won an Ig Nobel Prize.

Each year, the Igs are awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research for scientific achievements that "cannot (or should not) be reproduced." They're handed out by actual Nobel laureates, who always seem to be having a lot more fun that at the *real* Nobel ceremony in Stockholm. Craig Mello of UMass, who won the Nobel in Medicine last year, was one of the presenters. (If you have not been to the awards ceremony before, rectify that as soon as possible.)

Here's coverage from The Tech at MIT. From the story:

    Mayu Yamamoto from Japan won the Ig Nobel prize in chemistry for her development of a novel way to extract vanillin, the main component in vanilla bean extract, from cow dung. In tribute to Yamamoto’s achievement, Toscanni’s imitated her achievement and distributed samples of the resulting ice cream to Nobel laureates seated on the stage. Loud chants of “Eat it! Eat it!” from the audience finally persuaded the skeptical Nobel laureates to try a taste of their samples. For those brave and adventurous enough, Toscanni’s is offering a free tasting of the ice cream today at 11 a.m. at their Central Square Location.

There's coverage in The Guardian, The San Jose Mercury News, and ABC Science Online. The BBC story leads off with a prize given to the researchers at an Air Force lab working on a "gay bomb," a chemical weapon intended to make enemy troops sexually irresistible to each other. More on that an other prizes in the Reuters piece.

The event is overseen by comic genius Marc Abrahams, who also edits the Annals of Improbable Research.

Labels: , , ,