The 2002 Ig® Nobel Prizes were awarded October 3, 2002 at Harvard University. These prizes are awarded for actual scientific research, and though they might seem silly at first, if you think about them, you'll eventually realize how completely silly they truly are.
Here are the winners:
Norma E. Bubier, Charles G.M. Paxton, Phil Bowers, and D. Charles Deeming of the United Kingdom, for their report "Courtship Behaviour of Ostriches Towards Humans Under Farming Conditions in Britain." [Ig Nobel Prize Reference: "Courtship Behaviour of Ostriches (Struthio camelus) Towards Humans Under Farming Conditions in Britain," Norma E. Bubier, Charles G.M. Paxton, P. Bowers, D.C. Deeming, British Poultry Science, vol. 39, no. 4, September 1998, pp. 477-481.]
Arnd Leike of the University of Munich, for demonstrating that beer froth obeys the mathematical Law of Exponential Decay. [Reference: "Demonstration of the Exponential Decay Law Using Beer Froth", Arnd Leike, European Journal of Physics, vol. 23, January 2002, pp. 21-26.]
Karl Kruszelnicki of The University of Sydney, for performing a comprehensive survey of human belly button lint -- who gets it, when, what color, and how much. This effort has been noded as the Great Belly-Button Lint Experiment.
Theo Gray of Wolfram Research, in Champaign, Illinois, for gathering many elements of the periodic table, and assembling them into the form of a four-legged periodic table table.
K.P. Sreekumar and the late G. Nirmalan of Kerala Agricultural University, India, for their analytical report "Estimation of the Total Surface Area in Indian Elephants." [Reference: "Estimation of the Total Surface Area in Indian Elephants (Elephas maximus indicus)," K.P. Sreekumar and G. Nirmalan, Veterinary Research Communications, vol. 14, no. 1, 1990, pp. 5-17.]
Vicki L. Silvers of the University of Nevada-Reno and David S. Kreiner of Missouri State University, for their colorful report "The Effects of Pre-Existing Inappropriate Highlighting on Reading Comprehension." [Published in: Reading Research and Instruction, vol. 36, no. 3, 1997, pp. 217-23.]
Keita Sato, President of Takara Co., Dr. Matsumi Suzuki, President of Japan Acoustic Lab, and Dr. Norio Kogure, Executive Director, Kogure Veterinary Hospital, for promoting peace and harmony between the species by inventing Bow-Lingual, a computer-based automatic dog-to-human language translation device.
Eduardo Segura, of Lavakan de Aste, in Tarragona, Spain, for inventing a washing machine for cats and dogs.
The executives, corporate directors, and auditors of Enron, Lernaut & Hausbie [Belgium], Adelphia, Bank of Commerce and Credit International [Pakistan], Cendant, CMS Energy, Duke Energy, Dynegy, Gazprom [Russia], Global Crossing, HIH Insurance [Australia], Informix, Kmart, Maxwell Communications [UK], McKessonHBOC, Merrill Lynch, Merck, Peregrine Systems, Qwest Communications, Reliant Resources, Rent-Way, Rite Aid, Sunbeam, Tyco, Waste Management, WorldCom, Xerox, and Arthur Andersen, for adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in the business world. [Note: all companies are US-based unless otherwise noted.]
Chris McManus of University College London, for his excruciatingly balanced report, "Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and in Ancient Sculpture." [Published In: Nature, vol. 259, February 5, 1976, p. 426.]