The Ig Nobel Prize
Sunshine English Course 3 (2021) pg. 110-112
Have you heard of the Ig Nobel Prize? It started in 1991 as a parody of the Nobel Prize. The awards go to "Improbable Research;" in other words, they celebrate the unusual studies in science. Those studies look silly at first, but they are all serious studies.
Over the years, the Prize has become popular throughout the world. Surprisingly, Japanese scientists have been very successful in winning the awards. For example, in 2004, the Ig Nobel Peace Prize was given to Mr. Inoue Daisuke for inventing karaoke. Many other Japanese people also received the awards in the recent past. Actually, Japanese scientists have been winning the Ig Nobel Prize for more than 10 years in a row.
Every September, the award ceremony is held at Harvard University, in the U.S. The winners receive the awards and make a speech in a big hall at the university. It is filled with scientists and students. They all love science. Afterwards, the audience see scientific presentations by the winners.
In 2016, two Japanese scientists were one of the first prize winners. They made the following discovery: Things look smaller when you bend over and view them between your legs. It is called matanozoki in Japanese.
In the ceremony, one of the winners, Mr. Higashiyama made a short speech about his research. Later, he made a demonstration of his study, matanozoki by himself. Then a group of Nobel winners joined him and they all performed his study on the stage.
At first, the discovery by the Japanese scientists may look silly. However, their study has something humorous and serious too. The Ig Nobel award group says, "This research makes people laugh and then think. We hope to increase people's curiosity. We also want to ask: what is important and what is not in science? How do you decide?"
By the way, do you know how much money the scientists get by winning the award? Winners of the Nobel Prize receive 9 million Swedish krona. On the other hand, the Ig Nobel Prize winners receive no money. Instead, they just get 60 seconds to talk about their research.