Ig Nobel winner sees no humour in study

  • AseanPlus News
  • Wednesday, 15 Oct 2003

TOKYO: Although Nobel Prizes eluded Japanese scientists this year, a 62-year-old professor won a spoof Nobel for his study on why a bronze statue in his city fails to attract pigeons. 

Prof Yukio Hirose, 62, who taught computational mechanics at Kanazawa University, won the “Ig Nobel Prize” for chemistry, bringing the award to Japan for the second consecutive year. 

“When I gave my lecture, the audience were killing themselves laughing. I still don't understand what's funny about my investigation,” a bemused Prof Hirose said yesterday, recalling the prize-giving ceremony at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre this month. 

“Why on earth is my investigation funny? I'm totally serious,” said Prof Hirose.  

Harvard-affiliated US-based science humour magazine the Annals of Improbable Research said Prof Hirose won the prize for his “chemical investigation of a bronze statue in the city of Kanazawa that fails to attract pigeons.” 

His investigation has led him to determine the composition of an alloy to make statues that repel pigeons and crows. 

Prof Hirose started the study after noticing pigeons were shunning as a roost a bronze statue of legendary hero Yamatotakeru in the Kenroku garden in the castle town of Kanazawa, west of here. 

The Annals of Improbable Research awarded its prize last year to Masahiko Kajita, who invented the dog-language electronic interpreter Bowlingual for promoting harmony between the species. 

The Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded for “achievements that make people laugh, then think,” according to the magazine's website, Hot A.I.R. – AFP  

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