Scientist Wins IgNobel Extracting Vanillin From Cow Dung

The Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize was awarded on October 4 to Mayu Yamamoto, a former researcher at the International Medical Center of Japan, for her pioneering work in extracting a useful product, vanillin, from cow dung. According to Pink Tentacle, Yamamoto says that widespread adoption of her method could help the environment because companies would make greater use of cow dung, which arguably contributes to global warming.

As a bonus prize, Toscanini’s Ice Cream in Cambridge, Massachusetts has invented a new flavor — Yum-A-Moto Vanilla Twist — to honor Yamamoto, and is offering a free public tasting to its customers on October 5. Other winners below the fold ::Pink Tentacle

The winners

Medicine Brian Witcombe of Gloucester and Dan Meyer of Antioch, Tennessee, for their report in the British Medical Journal, Sword Swallowing and its Side-Effects

Physics L Mahadevan of Harvard and Enrique Cerda Villablanca of Santiago University, Chile, for studying how sheets become wrinkled

Biology Johanna van Bronswijk of Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, for a census of the mites, insects, spiders, pseudoscorpions, crustaceans, bacteria, algae, ferns and fungi with whom we share our beds

Chemistry
Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Centre of Japan, for developing a way to extract vanilla essence from cow dung

Linguistics Juant Manuel Toro, Josep Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, of Barcelona University, for showing that rats cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards

Literature Glenda Browne of Australia, for her study of the word "the" and the problems it causes when indexing

Peace
The Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, for instigating research on a chemical weapon to make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other

Nutrition Brian Wansink of Cornell University, for exploring the seemingly boundless appetites of human beings by feeding them with a self-refilling, bottomless bowl of soup

Economics Kuo Cheng Hsieh, of Taiwan, for patenting a device that catches bank robbers by dropping a net over them

Aviation Patricia V Agostino, Santiago A Plano and Diego A Golombek of Argentina, for the discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters

Tags: Humor | Japan

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