Cambridge, Massachussets, USA (GenevaLunch) – Research into whether an empty beer bottle will do more damage to a human head than a full one took the 2009 igNobel Peace Prize, the second year in a row that it has gone to Switzerland. Stephan Bolliger of the University of Bern, Switzerland accepted the prize at the awards ceremony 1 October in the US.
Other winners of the vaunted igNobel Prizes, awarded by Improbable Research, were:
Literature: the Irish Police for writing 50 speeding tickets to the most prolific offender in the country, Prawo Jazdy, whose name in Polish means “drivers licence”.
Medicine: to Donald Unger, of Thousand Oaks, California, USA for research into the possible origins of arthritis by cracking the knuckles of his left hand for 60 years, but never the knuckles of his right hand.
Economics: to the directors and auditors of four Icelandic banks who demonstrated how small banks can quickly become big banks and back again, and the effects this can have on a small economy.
Mathematics: to Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, for demonstrating that even common people can get used to the idea of dealing with a wide range of numbers, from the very small 1 cent coin to the extremely large Zim$ 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) banknote.