At Silk we do love science. We like weird and improbable science even more. So it is our distinct pleasure to announce that we have been helping the Annals of Improbable Research put the Ig® Nobel Prizes into a proper online data format. For those who don’t know about the Ig® Nobels, they are annual awards for hilarious but thought-provoking scientific research.
At a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the campus of Harvard University, each year the 10 Ig® Nobels are awarded by actual Nobel Prize winners from years past hand. This is no Stockholm fest. There are no cash prizes. The Ig® Nobel winners fly in at their own expense, from all over the world. But great fun is had by all. The research, too, is very real and often does hold some useful insights for both practical and theoretical purposes. Such as the research into whether the Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese is Affected by Temperature.
As befits the madcap science mantra of the Ig® Nobel awards, their data was organized in, shall we say, a strange formatting system that rendered it difficult to search, filter and share. That’s music to our ears and our crack data journalism team (with Alice Corona on this project) whipped up a fully structured searchable interactive database going back to the inception of the first Ig® Nobel ceremony. We also built some nice visualizations like categories that get the most awards and a visible grouping of award winners by category. (Pro Tip: If you want to embed a copy of the Ig® Nobels on your website, you can easily do so. This works great on WordPress.org and Tumblr blogs, too).
All awards are listed and indexed, as well as a brief description of the research. We have only included the awards through 2013 and will add the 2014 edition after the ceremony on September 18th. In the meantime, we invite you to peruse the Ig® Nobels, find out about improbable research, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. And if you have other suggestions for improbable Silk databases we can build for your organization or any other, do drop us a line on Twitter or via email.