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The 2006 Ig Noble prize for chemistry has been announced and was awarded to Spanish researchers Antonio Mulet, José Javier Benedito and José Bon (University of Valencia), and Carmen Rosselló (University of Illes Balears), for their outstanding research: "Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature." published in the Journal of Food Science.1
The Ig Noble prizes are administered by the publishers of the Annals of Improbable Research magazine. It's not always clear to me that the Chemistry Ig Noble prizes seem more related to other areas, and some non-chemistry prizes look as though the work was chemical, but never mind. For the record, here are a few of the more recent awards.
Edward Cussler and Brian Gettelfinger (University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin), for their work that finally settled the longstanding scientific question: can people swim faster in syrup or in water? See "Will Humans Swim Faster or Slower in Syrup?".2
The Coca-Cola Company of Great Britain, for using advanced technology to convert ordinary tap water into Dasani, a transparent form of water, which for "precautionary reasons" was withdrawn form the market in the UK (it seems the Dasani contained the carcinogenic bromate - the UK Food Standards Agency advice was that while Dasani contained illegal levels of bromate, it did not present an immediate risk to the public). See various press stories including:
Yukio Hirose of Kanazawa University in Japan, for his chemical investigation of a bronze statue in the city of Kanazawa that fails to attract pigeons.
Theodore Gray of Wolfram Research (Champaign, Illinois, USA) for gathering elements of the periodic table and assembling them into a periodic table table.
- 1. Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature,
, Journal of Food Science, 11/1999, Volume 64, Issue 6, p.1038 - 1041, (1999)
- 2. Will humans swim faster or slower in syrup?,
, AIChE Journal, 11/2004, Volume 50, Issue 11, p.2646 - 2647, (2004)