The Ig Nobel awards, organised by the humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research, are a parody of the Nobel Prizes. They honour achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think". However, despite the strangeness factor, these awards are handed out by genuine Nobel laureates, and one scientist, Andre Geim, has been awarded a Nobel Prize after having been given an Ig Nobel Prize.
The 2012 laureates for the Ig Nobel Prize in physics are a team of scientists who studied the shape and movement of ponytails. Raymond Goldstein, a physicist at the University of Cambridge, was set the challenge of considering the movement of ponytails by the company Unilever. “This might be interesting,” said Goldstein, “for people who want more energy-efficient homes which minimise heat loss through walls and roofs.”
He was honoured alongside Rouslan Krechetnikov’s team, who carried out research into why you usually drop coffee when walking around with a cup. Krechetnikov was inspired at a scientific conference while watching delegates walking carefully with mugs full of hot drinks. He noted that “the sizes of common coffee cups, together with the natural irregularity of the biomechanics of walking, are responsible for coffee spilling."
He had no idea, of course, of the attention his work would get. "Personally, this goes along with my view of science – there should be a fun side to it. The project was certainly fun," he said. "There are many people who are curious not only about black holes, but also about everyday ordinary phenomena."
I. READING COMPREHENSIONANSWER QUESTIONS 1-3 ACCORDING TO THE INFORMATION GIVEN IN THE TEXT. USE YOUR OWN WORDS.
1. Are there any connections between the Ig Nobel and the real Nobel awards, apart from the parody element? Explain. PAR.1
2. What can the study of the ponytail be used for? PAR.2
3. How did Krechetnikov get the idea for his unusual research project? PAR.3
ARE THESE STATEMENTS TRUE OR FALSE? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWERS WITH THE PRECISE WORDS OR PHRASES FROM THE TEXT, OR USE YOUR OWN WORDS.
4. Goldstein’s ponytail project wasn’t actually his own idea.
II. USE OF ENGLISH6. FIND IN THE TEXT THE WORD WHICH HAS THE FOLLOWING DEFINITION: “something that is difficult and that tests someone's ability or determination”.
- How rude! He didn’t even look at me when he answered.
- If I were (be) you, I wouldn’t put up with* that.
This is the place. Shakespeare was born here.
She criticized Nabokov’s novel.
him not to I promised offend