Posts tagged ‘Award’

October 29, 2012

Ig Nobel Prize

the stinker

The Ig Nobel Prizes are a satirical award given each year in early October for ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. The stated aim of the prizes is to ‘first make people laugh, and then make them think.’

Organized by the scientific humor magazine ‘Annals of Improbable Research’ (AIR), they are presented by a group that includes Nobel Laureates at a ceremony at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater, and they are followed by a set of public lectures by the winners at MIT. The name is a play on the words ‘ignoble’ (‘characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness’) and the Nobel Prize. The pronunciation used during the ceremony is [ig-noh-bel], not like the word ‘ignoble.’

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March 23, 2011

Bocuse d’Or

bocuse dor

The Bocuse d’Or [bo-kyewz dor] is a biennial world chef championship. Named for the chef Paul Bocuse, the event takes place during two days near the end of January in Lyon, France, and is frequently referred to as the culinary equivalent of the Olympic Games. The initial competition took place in 1987.

The audience atmosphere of the Bocuse d’Or evolved in 1997 when the support for the Mexican candidate included a mariachi band, foghorns, cowbells, cheering and yelling from the stands, marking the beginning of a tradition of noisy spectator presence. Originally the reigning champion nation was not permitted to participate in the following contest, but that rule was removed after the 1999 event when France was competing and did not win gold for the first time.

February 24, 2011

Turnip Prize

knickerless cage

The Turnip Prize is a spoof UK award that satirises the Tate Gallery’s Turner Prize by rewarding deliberately bad modern art. It was started mainly as a joke in 1999, but has gained national media attention and inspired other similar prizes. Credit is given for entries that have bad puns as titles, display ‘lack of effort’ and pass the crucial test of ‘is it shit?’; conversely, entries which show ‘too much effort’ or are ‘not shit enough’ are disqualified. The first prize is a turnip nailed to a block of wood.

November 23, 2010

Mother Hero

mother russia

Mother Hero was an honorary title in the Soviet Union awarded to all mothers bearing and raising 10 or more children. It was awarded upon the first birthday of the last child, provided that nine other children (natural or adopted) remained alive. Children who had perished under heroic, military or other respectful circumstances, including occupational diseases, were also counted.

Mother Heroes were entitled to wear a badge, which was a gold star with silver straight rays between the arms; it was suspended on a metal, red-enameled ‘ribbon’ bearing the words ‘Мать-героиня.’ They were also entitled to a number of privileges in terms of retirement pension, the payment of public utility charges, and the supply of food and other goods. Around 430,000 women were awarded this title during its existence. The only man to be awarded the title was Veniamin Petrovich Makarov from Orenburg, who raised 12 adopted boys.

November 23, 2010

Space Medal of Honor

Space MOH

The Congressional Space Medal of Honor was authorized by the United States Congress in 1969 to recognize ‘any astronaut who in the performance of his duties has distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the Nation and mankind.’ The highest award given in NASA, it is awarded by the President of the United States in Congress’s name on recommendations from the NASA Administrator. The award is a separate decoration from the Medal of Honor, which is a military award for extreme bravery and gallantry in combat.

Although the Congressional Space Medal of Honor is a civilian award of the United States government, it is authorized as a military decoration for display on U.S. military uniforms due to the prestige of the decoration. In such cases, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor is worn as a ribbon following all United States Armed Forces decorations. The Congressional Space Medal of Honor may also be presented posthumously to those astronauts who die while performing a United States space mission, and as of 2008 all 17 astronauts killed on U.S. missions have been awarded the medal.

October 28, 2010

Darwin Awards

darwin awards


The Darwin Award are a tongue-in-cheek honor, originating in Usenet newsgroup discussions circa 1985. They recognize individuals who have contributed to human evolution by self-selecting themselves out of the gene pool via death or sterilization due to their own (unnecessarily foolish) actions. The project became more formalized with the creation of a website in 1993, and followed up by a series of books starting in 2000, authored by Wendy Northcutt. The criterion for the awards states, ‘In the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species’ chances of long-term survival.’

Accidental self-sterilization also qualifies; however, the site notes: ‘Of necessity, the award is usually bestowed posthumously.’ But the candidate is disqualified if ‘innocent bystanders,’ who might have contributed positively to the gene pool, are killed in the process. The Darwin Awards books state that an attempt is made to disallow known urban legends from the awards, but some older ‘winners” have been ‘grandfathered’ to keep their awards. The Darwin Awards site does try to verify all submitted stories, but many similar sites, and the vast number of circulating ‘Darwin awards’ emails, are largely fictional.

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October 14, 2010

Blue Max

The Pour le Mérite, known informally during World War I as the Blue Max, was the Kingdom of Prussia’s highest military order for German soldiers until the end of World War I. The award was a blue-enameled Maltese Cross with eagles between the arms based on the symbol of the Johanniter Order, the Prussian royal cypher, and the French legend Pour le Mérite (‘for Merit’) arranged on the arms of the cross. A civil version of the order, for accomplishments in the arts and sciences, still exists in the Federal Republic of Germany.