Crazy Awards around the World, Part 2: Global Edition

In our last blog entry, we compiled some of the wackiest awards given out in the United States. Now, we’re going global and featuring some of the craziest reasons to celebrate an “achievement”…if you can use that word to describe some of these occasions. As always, we’ve got trophies on the brain – feel free to post your ideas for what the trophy, medal or other award should look like for each of these different nutty competitions!

Ig-Noble Prizes

Though this competition takes place at Harvard, it features contestants from around the world, so we figured it counts. The Ig-Noble Prize award honors “achievements that make people LAUGH, then THINK”; in other words, they celebrate the unusual and honor imaginative efforts to encourage people’s interests in the sciences and technology. Going on its 25th year of celebrating “improbably research,” this award is given to “scientists” (real or otherwise) who challenge the preconceived ideas of what’s important and what isn’t in the arena of research. The awards are given to ten winners every year, for unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. Our favorite winner from last year? The Arctic Science awardees, researchers who received the award for “testing how reindeer react to seeing humans who are disguised as polar bears.”

The Ernie Awards

This Australian award is actually quite socially progressive – it is “awarded” to companies or people who make sexist remarks or do sexist things. Named after a former government worker known for his own sexist remarks, 2003’s winner was awarded to the Stellar Call Center, for docking the pay of a pregnant woman who took “too many toilet breaks.”

The Bent Spoon Award

Another Australian award (note to those down under: we do international deliveries!), the Bent Spoon Award is given by an organization that calls themselves Australian Skeptics. The group’s own description states that it is “presented to the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudoscientific piffle.” Our favorite was from 1998, when the Bent Spoon Award went to a university for publicizing support for “empowered water.”

The “Lanterne Rouge” Award

This award, meaning “red lantern,” goes to the competitor who places last in the world-famous Tour de France cycling race. Named after the red lantern that is hung on the last car, or caboose, of a train, it’s not actually meant to be a humiliation; rather, it’s given as a special kind of distinction, as it means that the cyclist finished the race rather than opting to drop out. Word has it that, once at the back of the pack, cyclists compete for the Lanterne Rouge award thinking that, while the few riders before the very last will be forgotten, the very last “loser” will at least be memorable.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of some of the world’s wackiest awards, and that perhaps it even inspired you to design your own! Be sure to browse our huge selection of awards, medals, plaques and sports trophies in Philadelphia for the special event in your or a loved one’s life.