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Patented 'combover' hairstyle awarded ‘Ig Nobel’ prize

4 October 2004

The BBC  reports that researchers who patented a Bobby Charlton-esque comb-over hairstyle in 1975 were top prizewinners in the engineering section of this years’ Ig Nobel awards, which celebrate 'oddball research'.

Father and son team Frank and Donald Smith developed and patented a method to cover partial baldness using only the individual's own hair. The hairstyling technique works by dividing a person's hair into three sections and carefully folding one section over another.

Frank Smith's granddaughter, Heather Smith Adams, put it into more prosaic terms: "You know how comb-overs have that stringy look? This is to avoid that stringy look," she said.

This year's prizes were awarded at a sell-out gala ceremony with a satirical edge, held at Harvard University in Massachusetts and the prizes were handed to the winners by genuine Nobel Laureates, many of whom paid for their own flights just to attend.

The Ig Nobel prizewinners also turn up at their own expense in order to be given worldwide recognition for their extraordinary observations and what the organisers describe as "prizes made of extremely cheap materials and a medallion that's pretty awkward to wear," stated the Guardian.

The Ig Noble Peace prize was won by Daisuke Inoue of Hyogo, Japan, for inventing karaoke which apparently provided an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other.

Award organisers, the Annals of Improbable Research, say the Igs are meant to celebrate the unusual, as well as to “encourage interest in science, medicine, and technology.”

The 2005 Ig Nobel Tour of the UK and Ireland takes place during National Science week in March 2005.

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