Alumnus John R. Perry, Ph.D. ’68, professor emeritus of philosophy at Stanford University and professor of philosophy at the University of California-Riverside, won the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize in Literature Sept. 29.
He was cited for his principle of and writings on “structured procrastination,” first described in a 1996 essay published in The Chronicle of Higher Education and the founding principle of his website, Structured Procrastination.
Perry’s essay, “How to Procrastinate and Still Get Things Done,” proclaims that “the procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely, and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.”
The Ig Nobel committee summarizes Perry’s theory: To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that’s even more important.
The scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research has awarded about 10 Ig Nobels annually since 1991 for “research that makes people laugh and then think.”