An Australian has won an Ig Nobel Prize for working out how to unboil an egg

Colin Raston is the inventor of the Vortex Fluid Device, affectionately known as the unboil an egg machine. Image: Flinders University

An Australian scientist has been honoured with an Ig Nobel prize for creating a way to unboil an egg.

The Ig Nobel, a humorous parody of the Nobel Prizes, is almost as famous as its more serious Swedish counterpart.

Professor Colin Raston from Flinders University was at Harvard University to pick up his Ig Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his invention of the Vortex Fluid Device which can at least partially unboil an egg.

“Wow, did I really do that?” he said when learning he had won. “It’s living the dream.

“All scientists want to do something that is significant, but this has the wow factor. Winning an Ig is both humbling and amazing.”

Here’s the Vortex Fluidic Device in action:

The machine is capable of unravelling proteins, a process required to make the white of a cooked egg runny again, and has applications in the treatment of cancer, the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, the production of biofuels and in food processing.

Professor Raston didn’t set out to find a way to uncook eggs but the tag as the “unboil an egg machine” has helped explain what the device does.

“It’s not what we set out to do, to unboil an egg,” he says.

“The sheer scale of this is mind boggling. The global pharmaceutical industry alone is worth $160 billion annually and the processing of proteins is central to it. The VFD (Vortex Fluidic Device ) is completely changing it – and is set to do the same for the fuel and food industries.

“It’s impossible to place a price on the value of this device.”

The machine can boost the potency of a common cancer drug fourfold, meaning better treatment with fewer side effects.

The Ig Nobel Prizes honour achievements which make people laugh, and then think, by celebrating the unusual, honouring the imaginative, and spurring people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.

The prizes are organised by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, with an editorial board of 50 of eminent world scientists including several Nobel Prize winners.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.