Ig Nobel prize for physics


Joseph Keller (US), Raymond Goldstein (US/UK), Patrick Warren and Robin Ball (UK) have been awarded the 2012 Ig Nobel prize for physics for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail [1,2].

The winners were announced and awarded on Thursday 20th September.

Anyone interested should examine the Ponytail Equation.


[1] Raymond E. Goldstein, Patrick B. Warren, and Robin C. Ball, “Shape of a Ponytail and the Statistical Physics of Hair Fiber Bundles.” Physical Review Letters, vol. 198, no. 7, 2012.

[2] Joseph B. Keller, “Ponytail Motion,”, Journal of Applied Mathematics, vol. 70, no. 7, 2010, pp. 2667–72.


Ig Nobel prizes

Possible space junk sighted across UK

Last night people across the UK saw bright objects in the night sky. The police in north-east were contacted by concerned members of the public reporting sightings of UFO’s lighting up the night sky.


“It’s hard to say exactly, whether it was a chunk of rock coming in from outer space, burning up in the atmosphere or a bit of space debris, we call it, space junk, which is basically man-made stuff from a spacecraft that’s burning up in the atmosphere.”

“[The meteor was] probably 80 miles up or so, high up, moving very fast, actually, 18,000 miles an hour, probably, at least.”

Dr Tim O’Brien, associate director of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, speaking to the BBC

It is thought that the “light display” was due to space debris burning up in the atmosphere. The timing, the brightness and colour of the meteors suggest that they were not part of the expected natural meteor showers.


BBC News