NRI scientist wins Ig Nobel Prize in physics

London, Oct 5 : An Indian origin Harvard University physicist has been awarded the alternative Nobel Prize in physics for studying how sheets become wrinkled.

Prof. Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan shares the award jointly with Enrique Cerda Villablanca of Universidad de Santiago de Chile.

Brian Witcombe, a consultant radiologist at Gloucestershire Royal NHS Foundation Trust, UK has been awarded the prize in medicine for discovering that sword swallowers suffer “major complications” when they are distracted or while gulping down more than one blade.

“Sore throats are common, particularly while the skill is being learnt or when performances are too frequent," they wisely observed. Sword swallowers without healthcare coverage expose themselves to financial as well as physical risk,” said Dr Witcombe.

Prof. Johanna van Bronswijk of Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, earned the biology prize for his census of mites, insects, spiders, crustaceans, bacteria, algae, ferns and fungi who share beds with humans, while Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Centre of Japan won the chemistry prize for her efforts to extract vanilla fragrance from cow dung.

Incidentally, Toscanini's Ice Cream, an ice cream shop located near the Ig Nobel ceremony, at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, has created a new ice cream flavour in Yamamoto’s honour, aptly named “Yum-a-Moto Vanilla Twist.”

Researchers Juan Manuel Toro, Josep Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés of the University of Barcelona won the linguistics prize for their remarkable discovery that rats sometimes could not tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards.

Elsewhere, Glenda Browne of Blaxland, Australia, won the literature prize for her study of the word “the” - and of the many ways it causes problems for anyone who tries to put things into alphabetical order.

The peace prize went to the US Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio for instigating research on the so-called “gay bomb” that makes enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other, the Telegraph said in a report.

Brian Wansink of Cornell University lapped up the nutrition prize for exploring the appetites of human beings by feeding them with a self- refilling, bottomless bowl of soup.

Elsewhere, the economics prize went to Kuo Cheng Hsieh, of Taichung, Taiwan, for patenting a device that catches bank robbers by dropping a net over them, while the aviation prize went to Patricia Agostino, Santiago Plano and Diego Golombek of Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina, for their discovery that Viagra aided jetlag recovery in hamsters, the paper said. (ANI)