Nobel vs. Ig Nobel

The world?s most prestigious prize faces off against the most ignobl

On Oct. 1, the Nobel Prize's exact opposite will be awarded for the 19th year when the folks at Improbable Research give out the Ig Nobel awards for "achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think." To get ready for this year's ceremony, let's take a look at how Nobel Prize winners compare with their Ig Nobel counterparts over the past two decades.

Related story: Ig Nobels honor Tequila diamonds and bra that converts into gas mask

Edward Teller

Nobel: Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma wins the Nobel Peace Prize "for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights."

Ig Nobel: Edward Teller, "father of the hydrogen bomb and first champion of the Star Wars weapons system," wins the Ig Nobel peace prize "for his lifelong efforts to change the meaning of peace as we know it."

SOURCES: Nobelprize.org , Improbable Research

John Mack

Nobel: Russell A. Hulse and Joseph H. Taylor Jr. of Princeton win the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering a new type of pulsar, opening up "new possibilities for the study of gravitation."

Ig Nobel: John Mack of Harvard Medical School and David Jacobs of Temple University win the Ig Nobel psychology prize for concluding that tales of alien abduction are likely true and that aliens are abducting humans to produce children.

SOURCES: Nobelprize.org , Improbable Research

Martha Kold Bakkevig

Nobel: Researchers Paul J. Crutzen, Mario J. Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland win the Nobel Prize in chemistry "for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone."

Ig Nobel: Martha Kold Bakkevig of Norway and Ruth Nielsen of Denmark win the Ig Nobel award in public health for a study on the "Impact of Wet Underwear on Thermoregulatory Responses and Thermal Comfort in the Cold."

SOURCES: Nobelprize.org , Improbable Research

Peter Fong

Nobel: Robert B. Laughlin, Horst L. Störmer and Daniel C. Tsui (of Stanford, Columbia and Princeton, respectively) win the Nobel physics prize "for their discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations."

Ig Nobel: Peter Fong of Gettysburg College wins the biology Ig Nobel "for contributing to the happiness of clams by giving them Prozac."

SOURCES: Nobelprize.org , Improbable Research

Dr. Jack and Rexella Van Impe

Nobel: The United Nations and Kofi Annan win the Nobel Peace Prize "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."

Ig Nobel: Dr. Jack and Rexella Van Impe of Jack Van Impe Ministries in Michigan were awarded the Ig Nobel astrophysics prize "for their discovery that black holes fulfill all the technical requirements to be the location of Hell."

SOURCES: Nobelprize.org , Improbable Research

K.P. Sreekumar and G. Nirmalan

Nobel: John B. Fenn, Koichi Tanaka and Kurt Wüthrich (of the United States, Japan and Switzerland, respectively) win the Nobel Prize in chemistry "for the development of methods for identification and structure analyses of biological macromolecules."

Ig Nobel: K.P. Sreekumar and G. Nirmalan of Kerala Agricultural University in India win the mathematics Ig Nobel for an analytical report titled "Estimation of the Total Surface Area in Indian Elephants."

SOURCES: Nobelprize.org , Improbable Research

Five researchers

Nobel: Richard Axel of Columbia and Linda Buck of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle win the Nobel Prize in medicine "for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system."

Ig Nobel: Five researchers from Canada, Scotland, Denmark and Sweden win the Ig Nobel biology prize "for showing that herrings apparently communicate by farting."

SOURCES: Nobelprize.org , Improbable Research

Gregg A. Miller

Nobel: Mohamed El Baradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency win the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way."

Ig Nobel: Gregg A. Miller of Oak Grove, Mo., wins the Ig Nobel prize in medicine "for inventing Neuticles - artificial replacement testicles for dogs, which are available in three sizes, and three degrees of firmness."

Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek

Nobel: Researchers Mario R. Capecchi, Sir Martin J. Evans and Oliver Smithies win the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for "their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells."

Ig Nobel: Argentinian researchers Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek win the Ig Nobel in aviation "for their discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters."

SOURCES: Nobelprize.org , Improbable Research

Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tybur and Brent Jordan

Nobel: Harald zur Hausen of the German Cancer Research Centre wins the Nobel Prize in medicine "for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer."

Ig Nobel: Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tybur and Brent Jordan of the University of New Mexico win the Ig Nobel prize in economics "for discovering that professional lap dancers earn higher tips when they are ovulating."

Related story: Ig Nobels honor Tequila diamonds and bra that converts into gas mask

SOURCES: Nobelprize.org , Improbable Research