Gas Mask Bra Wins Science Award Ig Nobel Prize

A bra that can save your life during a terrorist attack, diamonds made from tequila, and trash reduction via panda poop were among the more unusual scientific achievements lauded last night at the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.

Crowds packed Harvard University's venerable Sanders Theater for the 19th annual event, which this year carried the theme "risk."

The raucous celebration, hosted by the Annals of Improbable Research and several Harvard student groups, seeks to honor real science "that first makes people laugh, and then makes them think."

Nine genuine Nobel laureates took part in the festivities by distributing prizes to the winners. In addition, Martin Chalfie, winner of the 2008 chemistry Nobel, served as the prize in the "Win a Date With a Nobel Laureate" contest, National Geographic News reports.

Dr Elena Bodnar won the public health prize for the bra that, in an emergency, can be converted into two gas masks. She demonstrated her invention and gave one to each of the Nobel laureates as a gift, reports the BBC.

The only British winners were Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson who found that cows with names produce more milk.

Dr Douglas, from the agriculture, food and rural development department of Newcastle University, said she was "thrilled" to have been selected and was a "big fan of the Ig Nobel awards".

She dedicated the award to Purslane, Wendy and Tina - "the nicest cows I have ever known".

The peace prize went to a Swiss research team who determined whether it is better to be hit over the head with a full or empty bottle of beer. The prize for economics went to the executives of four Icelandic banks.

And the governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank received the prize for mathematics for printing bank notes with such a wide range of denominations, Ananova informs.

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