Manco "Duck" Tape at the Ig Nobel Awards

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WIRED MAGAZINE, Issue 7.08, 5.Oct.98

Blindsided by Science, by Megan Watzke,

"Saturday Night Live is to politics and popular culture what the Ig Nobel Awards might be to science, economics, and other usually esteemed disciplines.

In its eighth annual ceremony, to take place Thursday at Harvard University, the Ig Nobels will award prizes in 10 categories, in a "good-natured spoof of science and the Nobel prizes for achievements that cannot or should not be reproduced," according to its own billing.

The real Nobel Awards pay homage to the Swedish royalty at the beginning of its ceremony. But the Ig Nobels, setting a different tone for its event, will have its regular tribute to the Swedish meatball.

"We're expecting a great many things from this year's show," said Marc Abrahams, editor of "The Annals of Improbable Research" which produces the Ig Nobels.

"More people, more stuff, which should be a good thing." The 1998 Ig Nobel Awards are also co-sponsored by the Harvard Computer Society and the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association.

In celebration of this year's theme of "duct tape," the Manco Company of Avon, Ohio will provide the famed binding to the Nobel Laureates, the 1998 winners, and audience members, as well as the material for the duct tape fashion show.

"We are definitely a company that has a sense of humor," says Tracey Bradnan, spokesperson for Manco, on why the company would sponsor the Ig Nobels. "When we heard this year's theme, we knew we had to be involved."

The keynote speakers may also provide some highlights. Of special interest will be 11-year-old Emily Rosa, whose published work debunked the field of therapeutic touch, and Troy Hurtubise who designed, built, and tested a suit of armor to protect him during grizzly bear attacks in the Canadian wild ...

Even though the Ig Nobel Awards are meant to be fun and light-hearted, some people see them as a vehicle for sharing their serious research with a broader audience.

Max Sherman, a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA, hopes his lecture during the ode to duct tape can do just that.

"Although the spirit is light-hearted, I am hoping that the message will be heard," says Sherman. His work is in trying to determine whether duct tape is truly efficient to use on heating ducts ...

Still, Sherman notes, the event is mainly about showing the fun side of science ...

In keeping true to the Ig Nobel form, the event's Web engineer will be none other than Robert T. Morris, the first well-known Internet criminal ..."

For Further Information: Manco, Inc.

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