The IgNobels, an annual spoof on the Nobel Prizes, recognise some of the more improbable contributions to research and discovery. This years prizes include …

Medicine: A paper on injuries due to falling coconuts

Physics: Solution to why shower curtains billow inwards

Biology: The invention of airtight underpants with a special charcoal filter to remove bad smells

Technology: For patenting the wheel in the year 2001 (and the Australian Patent Office for granting the patent)

Public Health: A survey of nose picking among adolescents

Psychology: An ecological study of glee in small groups of preschool children.

Peace: For creating the amusement park known as Stalin World

Last year, the peace award went to the Royal Navy for saving live ammunition by making sailors shout Bang! on training exercises.

And in 1999, a Bristol University scientist, Len Fisher, won the IgNobel for physics for his technique for dunking a biscuit without making a mess at the bottom of a cup of tea or coffee.

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