[EAS]IG Nobel Prizes

pjk peter.kindlmann at yale.edu
Thu Oct 19 02:08:07 EDT 2000

Subject:   IG Nobel Prizes

(from TOURBUS - 17 Oct 2000)


What?  You haven't heard of the Ig Nobel Prize?  The Ig Nobel Prize
honors individuals whose achievements "cannot or should not be
reproduced."  The Igs, which are sponsored by the science humor
magazine Annals of Improbable Research, are intended to celebrate
the unusual, honor the imaginative, and take a good-natured poke at
some remarkably goofy things done in the name of science.


This year's winners were announced earlier this month and included
a study "On the Comparative Palatability of Some Dry-Season
Tadpoles from Costa Rica", software that detects when a cat is
walking across your computer keyboard, and a report "The Collapse
of Toilets in Glasgow."


There are many gems there. I'm particularly fond of the Ig award
for Psychology, to

> David Dunning of Cornell University and Justin Kreuger of the
> University of Illinois, for their modest report, "Unskilled and
> Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own
> Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments." [Published in the
> Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 77, no. 6,
> December 1999, pp. 1121-34.]

Indeed an important topic, but I'm just too old-fashioned to be
content with seeing every shortcoming the world confronts us with,
lack of humility in this case, become a cheerful professional
pursuit. Better perhaps to do epidemiological studies of
incompetence, its spread, distribution and, it is to be hoped,


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