Schmidt, PhD (Entomology) ’77, wins 2015 Ig Nobel Prize

Beth Gavrilles, [email protected]

Contact: Justin Schmidt, [email protected]

Justin Schmidt, PhD (Entomology) ’77, of Southwestern Biological Institute and University of Arizona, shared the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize in Physiology and Entomology, presented at the 25th First Annual Ig Nobel prize ceremony on Sept. 19 at Harvard University.

Schmidt’s prize was awarded for “painstakingly creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which rates the relative pain people feel when stung by various insects,” according to the web site of the Annals of Improbable Research, which organizes the prizes. His paper “Hemolytic Activities of Stinging Insect Venoms,” by Justin O. Schmidt, Murray S. Blum and William L. Overal, appeared in the Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology in 1984. It is available online at

His book “The Sting of the Wild,” published by John Hopkins University Press, is scheduled for release in April 2016.

Ig Nobel Prize winner Justin Schmidt, PhD’77 (Entomology) in the field. Photos courtesy of Justin Schmidt.

The Ig Nobels are awarded for science published in peer reviewed journals to recognize “achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.” The underlying goal—besides gently poking fun at academic research—is to inspire interest in science, medicine and technology.

For more information, including video of the ceremony—which features a mini-opera, costumed recipients, theatrical interpretations of the award-winning research, and “genuinely bemused genuine Nobel Laureates” presenting the prizes—see The awarding of the Physiology and Entomology Prize starts at 1:25:00, but the entire event is well worth watching.


Top: Justin Schmidt, a student member of the Institute of Ecology in the 1970s who received his PhD in entomology from UGA in 1977, is congratulated by Nobel Laureate Dudley Herschbach for his Ig Nobel Prize in Physiology and Entomology. Photo courtesy of Improbable Research.

Middle: Justin Schmidt in the field. Photo courtesy of Justin Schmidt.