Oct
11
2010

If you are looking for cutting edge studies on animal research and practice management, you need look no further than this year’s Ig Nobel Prize winners.

Two of this year’s winners focused on animals, and one was related (loosely) to a theory of management. However, don’t expect to use these techniques in your practice, unless you are interested in collecting whale snot, watching fruit bats mate, and randomly promoting members of your staff.

The Ig Nobel awards are presented each year by the science humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research" to scientists whose research "makes people laugh and then think."

A team from London and Mexico won the Engineering Prize for their study on collecting whale snot using a remote-control helicopter. Their study "A Novel Non-Invasive Tool for Disease Surveillance of Free-Ranging Whales and Its Relevance to Conservation Programs," appeared in the journal Animal Conservation.

In the Management category, a group of Italian researchers won for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random. Their paper, "The Peter Principle Revisited: A Computational Study," was published in Physica A.
 
The Peter Principle states that "Every new member in a hierarchical organization climbs the hierarchy until he/she reaches his/her level of maximum incompetence." In their paper, the Italians set out to prove that "in order to avoid such an effect the best ways for improving the efficiency of a given organization are either to promote each time an agent at random or to promote randomly the best and the worst members in terms of competence."

And lastly, the Ig Nobel Biology prize was awarded to a group of Chinese scientists and a Briton who published a study that could go in Cosmo magazine for bats. Read all about it here.

(Image courtesy of CDC)

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