Last week, the 2014 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded at Harvard.
The physics prize went to a scientist studying the friction of banana peels to see if bananas really are slippery enough to trip us. Obviously, this is important to validate the physics of Mario Kart.
A couple other examples:
The economics prize went to the Italian government for discovering how to inflate its GDP by counting illicit trade like drugs and prostitution.
The medicine prize went to some people testing the efficacy of treating severe nosebleeds by packing the nose with bacon.