Johan Pettersson, an environmental engineer from Trelleborg, was awarded the parody prize at Harvard University in Boston on Thursday.
“My children say that it’s only their dad who can win such a prize. They really think I’m a bit of a nerd,” he told Sveriges Television (SVT).
“A Swede who had previously won the prize called me to tell me. It was extremely overwhelming and he had to ring twice so it would sink in.”
Petterson’s discovery came after several formerly blonde inhabitants of Anderslöv in southern Sweden suddenly had green hair.
The engineer came to the conclusion that it was the copper pipes that were to blame, as they weren’t properly coated in the new houses.
Hot water being left in the pipes overnight caused the copper to seep into the water system, leaving the tap water with five times as much copper as usual.
As copper has a naturally green dying effect, any residents in new houses in the area who showered using the tap water found they suddenly had green hair.
According to the prize’s official website, the Ig Nobel Prizes honour achievements that first make people laugh then think.
“The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.”