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Science at its weirdest for this years Ig Nobel ceremony. The star? Dr. NakaMats, known for inventions such as the floppy disk, toilet seat lifter and the 'wig for self defense'
From scientists dressed as polar bears to pork fat as a nosebleed cure, the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony had it all. The event gave recognition to science’s most spontaneous and bizarre accomplishments.
”Those who nominate themselves rarely win. If you are trying to get an Ig Nobel prize, you’ve missed the essence of this award. The surprise and unique nature of these achievements are very hard to manufacture,” says Marc Abrahams, who played Master of Ceremonies at the 2015 event, which ran Friday and Saturday.
Hosted by the Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, the grand ceremony attracted an audience including journalists from across the world. On stage were Ig Nobel winners who gave presentations on their unusual fields of research.
At the opening of this event, Abrahams discussed the award selection process. Each year there are thousands of submissions and all previous nominations are re-considered – some of which are self-nominations.
”This years theme is the celebration of life and of course, 25 years of Ig Nobel achievements,” said Abrahams. Spontaneous ideas or life-long studies; all research is welcome at the Ig Nobels.
Some of these studies are long planned and developed research – such as Jaroslav Flegr’s over 20 years experience studying the microbe toxoplasma and it’s effects on the human mind; this was revealed in his study of cats and their relationship with our mental health. Others, such as Dr. Eigil Reimer, participate in spontaneous experimentation – such as his trials to discover how reindeer respond to men in polar bear suits.
So how does it feel to create a polar bear costume out of clothing scraps and toilet paper (all in the name of science)? Pictures flashed of Dr. Eigil Reimer’s makeshift costume, as he responded:
“Life is a question of mind over matter, if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter”.
Audience members asked if he would perform this study again, perhaps with more official equipment, Reimer responded, ”If you have the funding, you’re in!”
Despite the array of science presented at this event, one common theme rang throughout; the true spirit of science, exploration, trial, laughter, and a passion for research. All of these laureates welcomed questions and encouraged the audience to interact with their research and ideas.
As the night came to a close Marc Abrahams introduced Dr. NakaMats, a 2005 Ig Nobel prize winner, who received recognition for his photography of every meal he has ever eaten during the past 34 years. However, that accomplishment pales in comparison to the many inventions and achievements he has made throughout his lifetime. At age 86 Dr. NakaMats has 3,500 inventions/patents. Famed inventor Thomas Edison had only 1,093.
Abrahams was thrilled to have Dr. NakaMats as a guest, encouraging everyone to ask questions and meet one of, in his opinion, the greatest men in the world. Dr. NakaMats, who was diagnosed with ductal prostate cancer in December 2014, openly addressed the audience with his mission to discover a new treatment for this terminal illness. He shows no signs of stopping; rather he celebrated his achievements and his mission to develop new inventions and studies for the duration of his life.
When asked which of his inventions the world needs most today, he responded ”Everything!”
Dr. NakaMats got a standing ovation.
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