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Ig Nobel winners in spotlight at science gala in Chicago
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12:48, February 15, 2009

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At the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2009 annual meeting, the world's largest science gala, Ig Nobel winners and organizers stole the show on Friday.

Ig Nobel Prizes are a parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in early October for 10 achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think" with the intention to spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.

In this year's AAAS annual meeting in Chicago, the Ig Nobel winners and organizers as usual pulled a large crowd with unusual and sometimes stunning performances.

Dan Mayer, a 2007 Ig Nobel Medicine Prize winner, demonstrated a 15-inch and a 30-inch-sword swallowing respectively in the afternoon and at night on Friday. A female audience was invited topull the sword out of his mouth after the performance. As expected, she screamed.

At strong request, Mayer, who is also the co-author of "Sowrd swallowing and Its Side Effects" published on the British Medicine Journal, struck the sword into the cardboard floor to demonstrate its sharpness.

Winners performing at this AAAS convention also include Joe Cychosz, the world's quickest barbecue ignition, using liquid oxygen.

On Friday, the witty scientists made a new announcement at the gathering, saying a finishing 1000th Steve was just found in the AAAS for their "Project Steve."

Eugenie Scott, the executive director of the National Center for Science Education, launched the tongue-in-cheek Project Steve in response to a group of scientists who doubt Darwin.

Eugenie's parody project encouraged scientists named Steve (or any related name, such as Stephanie) to formally endorse evolution.

"Our goal is to make people laugh, then make them think. We also hope to spur people's curiosity, and to raise the question: How do you decide what's important and what's not, and what's realand what's not -- in science and everywhere else?" said the Ig scientists.


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