Friday, October 9, 2009

And Now, For Something Completely Different

The health buzz of recent weeks has been influenza and vaccination, and the political talk of today is the Nobel peace prize. Frankly, I could use a break from hearing about both... at least in a completely serious context.

The Ig Nobel Prizes are awards given out annually by the scientific humor journal the Annals of Improbable Research. Parodied after the Nobel Prizes, and given out at Harvard University with Nobel Laurates in attendance, they are awarded to "achievements that first make people laugh then make them think" across ten categories of science, medicine, and technology. This year's 19th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was held on October 1 at Harvard's Sanders Theater, and saw the awarding of the following topical prize:

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Elena N. Bodnar, Raphael C. Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, Illinois, USA, for inventing a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander.
REFERENCE: U.S. patent # 7255627, granted August 14, 2007 for a “Garment Device Convertible to One or More Facemasks.”

Perhaps not listed in the CDC's official guidelines for masks to prevent influenza spread, but it has potential...

A full list of the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize winners can be found here. Details of the ceremony, including lectures and video, live here.

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