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The Ig Nobel Awards are an American parody of the Nobel Prizes. They are presented each year to ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research that are able to "first make people laugh, and then make them think." The name stems from a play on the word 'ignoble', someone or thing characterized by baseness or meanness, together with the name of the original Nobel prizes.
The Ig Noble prizes are organized by the scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research.
Awards are presented in various categories, including the Nobel prizes' original categories of physics , chemistry , physiology , literature and peace . In addition, other humorous achievements are recognized in engineering, biology, anthropology, public health and archaeology.
During the ceremony a number of running-jokes are enacted, such as the throwing of paper airplanes onto the stage. The event is broadcast on national public radio and can be streamed live online.
Although some in the scientific community have expressed concern that such a ceremony risks ridiculing genuine experiments, others have pointed out that history has shown how trivial research can sometimes lead to important breakthroughs.