Anti-Hijacking System Wins Ig Nobel Safety Engineering Prize

It is a posthumous award for Gustano Pizzo, who received a patent in 1974 for inventing a mechanical system to trap airline hijackers mid-flight.

The 23nd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony on Sept. 12 at Harvard University honored 10 new Ig Nobel Prize winners. As is customary, the honorees received their prizes from genuine Nobel Laureates, the ceremony was webcast live, and the winners were being honored for strange, imaginative research and inventions. Behind the Ig Nobels is the staff of the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, and their description says the prizes "are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology."

One of the 2013 winners was the late Gustano Pizzo, who was awarded the Safety Engineering Prize inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers. His system was designed to drop a hijacker through trap doors, capture him or her into a package, and then drop it through the airplane's bomb bay doors so it would parachute to ground, where police would be waiting.

Pizzo's U.S. Patent #3811643 was filed in November 1972 and published in May 1974.

This year’s Ig Nobel Physics Prize went to a team of international researchers "for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if those people and that pond were on the moon," according to the online description of the winners.

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