On the 10th of November last year Barack Obama recieved his Nobel Peace Prize with a lot of people, including himself, asking why. However, since 1991 a similar prize has been awarded, originally to discoveries "that cannot, or should not, be reproduced". Although the Ig Nobel Prize's mantra has later changed to "research that first make people laugh and then think" the prize remains essentially the same. Originally thought as a parody of the Nobel Prize, hence the wordplay on ignoble, it has become an acclaimed phenomenon in its own right with an award ceremony every year. As the 2010 ceremony is five months off, some previous winners are included below to keep us until then.
Chemistry: Javier Morales et.al. for creating diamonds from tequila
Peace: Stephan Bolliger et.al. for determining by experiment what is better; being smashed over the head with a full beer bottle or an empty one.
Veterinary Medicine: Catherine Douglas et.al. for showing that cows with names produce more milk than nameless ones.
Literature: Irish police for issuing more than fifty traffic tickets to Prawo Jazdy, Ireland’s most notorius traffic offender whose Polish name means “driving licence”
Peace: The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee for Non-Human Biotechonlogy and the Swiss for adopting the legal pinciple that plants have dignity.
Archaeology: Astolfo G. Mello Araujo et.al. for showing how the contents of an archaological dig site can be scrambled by a live armadillo.
Literature: Glenda Browne for her study of the ways the word "the" creates problems for people wishing to arrange things in alphabetical order.
Physics: Jack Harvey et.al. for their treatise "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces".
For more, see my Sources:
http://circuit.ucsd.edu/~curts/courses/ECE284_F04/references/Har02.pdf (last visited 5.5.2010)