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whale helicopter Told You So:  Whale snot takes Ig Nobel

As you may have heard, last week a bunch of lucky stiffs talented, hard-working scientists (and one fiction author) got invited to meet the King of Sweden. Science-y highlights include the Physics prize, which went to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for some fancy tricks with carbon (specifically graphene); the Medicine prize, to Robert G. Edwards for inventing the test tube baby; and the Chemistry prize, to Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi, and Akira Suzuki for, ah, some other fancy tricks with carbon (plus palladium). That’s all well and good.

But the highlight of this year’s Nobel season was unquestionably the award of the 2010 (Ig) Nobel Prize for Engineering to Dr. Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse and co-workers for figuring out how to collect whale snot by strapping a Petri dish to an R/C helicopter, just as yours truly predicted back in March when we first covered the story. Stay tuned for hot stock tips!

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


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