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Duct Tape Celebrated at Ig Nobel Ceremony


Ying Lee -- The Tech
The curators of the Museum of Bad Art display this yearUs exhibition in HarvardUs Sanders Theater Thursday night as part of this yearUs Ig Nobel ceremony.

By Karen Robinson

Pomp, ceremony, and paper airplanes graced the Eighth First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, held Thursday evening at Harvard's Sanders Theatre.

The prizes, ostensibly a legacy of Ignatius "Ig" Nobel, honor individuals whose research "cannot or should not be repeated."

As can be surmised from the name, the event was a parody of the Nobel Prize ceremony. It was sponsored by the Annals of Improbable Research, Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, Harvard Computer Society, and Manco, the manufacturer of Duck Tape, a brand of duct tape.

Not surprisingly, only two of the ten awardees attended the event to claim their prize, a roll of duct tape.

The ten prizes awarded this year included the prize in safety engineering, awarded to Troy Hurtubise for developing and subsequently personally testing a protective suit from grizzly bears.

The Ig Nobel prize in Peace was awarded to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan for their"aggressively peaceful explosions of atomic bombs." Neither was present at the event.

The prize in Medicine was awarded to "Patient Y"and his doctors for their report, "A Man Who Pricked His Finger and Smelled Putrid for 5 Years."

Meanwhile, the literature report was awarded to Dr.Mara Sidola for her "illumniating report," entitled "Farting as a Defence Against Unspeakable Dread."

The Biology Prize, was awarded to Peter Fong of Gettysburg College who fed Prozac to clams in efforts to get them to reproduce. "They gave their lvies for research,"he said in his acceptance speech, read in his absense, "but at least they got to have sex first."

Actual awarding of prizes took a back seat to various events, parades, and "planned quasi-disruptions"that centered on this year's theme, duct tape. Festivities began with the Entrance Parade of Ignitaries and Delegations, which included people garbed in duct tape, masked in duct tape, and a group from MIT bearing a brain constructed completely of duct tape.

A duct tape fashion show displayed the adhesive's fashionable uses. Hurtubise's bear suit contained over a mile of duct tape.

Four Nobelists tested duct tape's tensile strength. The premier and final performance of a short opera highlighted the life of duct tape's inventor, and culminated in taping up and carting off the inventor himself.

This year's first keynote spearker was Hurtubise, who spoke on the importance of what appears to be absurd, and urged the audience in vain to take him completely seriously.

Hurtubise began work on his device after being attacked by a grizzly; during the testing phase he was rammed by a pickup truck at 50 mph to simulate the condutions of being attacked.

The second keynote speaker was Emily Rosa, an 11-year-old sixth-grader who disproved the existance of "human fields," and thus the effectiveness of "theraputic touch" in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The proponent of the theory, Delores Kreiger, a professor emerita of New York Univesrity, won the Ig Nobel inScience Education.

Another speaker was Angelo Ritson, introduced as the product manager of Manco. Ritson, the "person holding sole responsibility for the sound Duck Tape makes," outlined his product's capacity to be much more than a household adhesive, saying "There's more to duct tape than gray."

Ritson displayed the lining of his coat, which was striped with colored duck tape, and touted duck tape as the solution to shoes that don't match. "Ladies, find one comfortable pair [of shoes] and some Duck Tape and you're all set," he advised.

Meanwhile, engineer Max Sherman flew in from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to claim that duct tape performs beyond its namesake purpose.

"Duct tape is good for lots of things, just not for wrapping ducts,"he said.