The IG Nobel Prizes awarded in 2010

The IG Nobel Prizes awarded in 2010

The IG Nobel Prizes awarded in 2010

Also this year Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts, awarded him the "IG-NOBEL Prize" (= IG-NOBILE Prize), that is, the upside down Nobel Prizes awarded to those who have carried out scientific research that is completely useless, extravagant and particularly original.

Let's see how it went this year.

The IG-Nobel Prize for Engineeringwas assigned to a joint study by researchers from the Zoological Society of London and the Istituto Politecnico Nacional, Baja California Sur, Mexico that developed a device to collect mucus from whales using a small remote-controlled helicopter with the aim of further investigating the study. respiratory diseases of cetaceans.

The IG-Nobel Prize for Medicineinstead he was assigned to a Dutch research that came to the conclusion that asthma sufferers are better off taking a ride on a roller coaster.

The IG-Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three researchers at Keele University in Great Britain for confirming the belief that swearing is better tolerated.

The IG-nobel for chemistry Instead, it has been bestowed on several researchers who have refuted the belief that oil does not mix with drinking water.

Three Italians from the University of Catania were also awarded with theIG-Nobel on business management for having mathematically demonstrated that both institutions and companies would be much more efficient if they promoted employees in a completely random way "

The IG-nobel for physics Instead, he went to a New Zealand study that showed he could save many lives, during the winter, when walking on icy roads, wearing socks over your shoes and not inside.

He deserved theIG-Nobel Prize for Public Healtha study by researchers from Maryland's Industrial Health and Safety Office that experimentally showed that in the laboratory, bacteria attack more researchers who wear beards than those who don't.

L'IG-Nobel of economics it has been awarded to some scholars for inventing and popularizing a new way of investing money that maximizes returns and minimizes financial risks for the world economy or at least for a small part of it.

A Japanese study for determining the optimal route for railroad wheels using mud went to theIG-Nobelsulla Transport Planning.

A group of researchers from the University of Bristol was given theIG-Nobel Prize for Biology for having scientifically documented the practice of fellatio in bats, namely the oral stimulation of the male sexual organ.

IG Nobel 2019: the prize for medicine goes to pizza, but only if Italian

Health 09/17/2019 by Drafting

And the winner is (italian)! How does a food win a Nobel Prize in Medicine? Anything is possible when it comes to the IG Nobels, the Improbable Research Nobel. These are acknowledgments to the more frivolous side of science, that is all those scientific researches that aim "first to make people laugh and then to make people think". Acclaiming the side of science that awards a Nobel Prize in medicine to pizza and many other bizarre researches has a very specific purpose: to tickle people's attention for science and technology. So let's see why the pizza was awarded to the IG Nobel 2019 and what are the other prizes awarded.

For those who do not know them or have never heard of them: the IgNobel are prizes awarded as it were to the science crazy, bizarre, funny (e then think, as the famous motto now quotes). A few examples? In previous years, for those who are really dry-mouthed and need to orient themselves, we remember for example the awards went to research on twins who are unable to distinguish themselves from each other, to doctors who have practiced a autocoloscopy or studying to figure out which one banknote which country was the best receptacle for bacteria. This year, cause pandemic, the traditional ceremony assignment - also surreal at times - did not go on stage. Everything took place online, including the awarding of the prize (a box to self-assemble from a pdf and a banknote out of order). But the essence of the event, promoted by Annals of Improbable Researchit has not changed, as shown by the prizes awarded this year, during the themed ceremony bugs, in all their forms (insects and computer bugs, as drawn on the faces of the prize-box). Who brings the award home (from home) this year? Here they are, without taking us too seriously.

Acoustics: the vocalizations of Chinese helium alligators

(Photo: Fritz Geller-Grimm via Wikimedia CC)

A team of international researchers got on the podium for the acoustic section, for having investigated the characteristic vocalizations of the Chinese alligators ( Alligator sinensis ). Actually the official motivation for their IgNobel mentions:"For inducing a female Chinese alligator to moo in an airtight chamber enriched with helium". Why did they do this. The purpose, we read on the pages of Research - a paper up Journal of Experimental Biology a few years ago - was to understand if in their vocalizations there were those known in acoustics as formants , the distribution of which, we read, can be altered in the sound spectrum by helium. Bottom Line: Yes, Asian alligators apparently emit formants, and could use them as a tool to communicate information about their size.

Psychology: the narcissists they can be recognized by the eyebrows

(Photo: Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash)

How do you recognize a narcissist? Simple, come on eyebrows. According to what Miranda Giacomin and Nicholas Rule told about pages of Journal of Personality the narcissism it would be perceived by some facial features, especially by the eyebrows. Why? The eyebrows they contribute to facial recognition, help to grasp expressions and also play a role in attraction, the authors write.

Peace: India and Pakistan playing together at the door bells and then escape

(Photo: Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash)

To read the motivation it would seem to be in the middle of some boyish joke. The prize IgNobel for peace 2020 goes to India and Pakistan for the case of "Doorbells stealthily rang each other at the doors of their diplomats in the middle of the night and then ran away before anyone had a chance to answer". There news it dates back more than two years when diplomats from Pakistan and India, rivals for decades, reported similar harassment, respectively, along with stalking cars and outages of water and electricity.

Physics: worms that vibrate at high frequencies

(Photo: Sean Thomas on Unsplash)

Recognition for the physics instead this year it goes to Ivan Maksymov and Andriy Pototsky, who have signed a study on pages of Scientific Reports with which they succeeded, write from Improbable Research, "To determine, experimentally, what happens to the shape of a live worm when the worm is vibrated at high frequencies". More in detail - but not too much - what Maksymov and Pototsky did was observe the formation of a sort of standing waves on some real subjected to vertical vibration. Why? You never know, studying similar processes could one day help us control biological processes, the researchers write.

Economy: relations between kiss and income

They would seem to have nothing to do with, i kisses on the mouth and the income of a population. But no. To read the results of a study published last year on Scientific Reports in fact there is a correlation between the two parameters and it turns out that people kiss on the mouth more in countries where income inequalities are greater, write the researchers, an international team, partly also Italian. IS Samuela Bolgan, a psychologist professor, at the time a researcher at Abertay University who took part in the work, to explain us something more about it and how the research was born.

"The idea was to understand if in advanced countries that are in good health, where apparently less importance is given to emotional ties and more to other aspects, such as work, hobbies, kissing, was considered differently than in the less advanced ". To do this, the researchers administered questionnaires to about three thousand participants from 13 countries, testing two different hypotheses: "On the one hand we wanted to understand if the kiss could be useful as a sensory tool in evaluating the partner from the point of view of health, on the other hand how much the kiss reflected the willingness to invest in a relationship", Bolgan resumes.

What emerged from analyzing the data is that the kiss it does not seem to be valid as a health assessment tool, but is instead related to the type of relationship: it seems to be more important in a well-established couple where it is held in high regard, more than sexual intercourse, than during courtship. But not only. “Kisses are highly valued especially in poorer countries and especially in older people than young people - says the psychologist - in the poorest countries, probably, people rely more on relationships, also by virtue of the greater amount of time that can be dedicated to them ”.

(Photo: Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash)

Out of the results, what the work demonstrates is that research, as it happens, is born from the curiosity of researchers. "It seemed a bit strange thing to do, very innovative - concludes Bolgan - but even this award is a bit of recognition of creativity and, if we want, serendipidity which can be a strength and a stimulus to say that everything can be sought ".

Management: murder subcontracted several times

(Photo: Eric Prouzet on Unsplash)

IgNobel 2020 for management goes to China, for the case of a commissioned murder and more times subcontracted, passing from hand to hand, each time with a reduction in the pay for the hitman. At the end of the chain, the last assassin in charge made an agreement with the person to be killed to stage capture and murder, but the latter eventually turned to the police. The epilogue, with the sentences to the various intermediaries, was widely reported in the press.

Entomology: Scientists afraid of spiders

(Photo: Dev Leigh on Unsplash)

Did you know you can be entomologists, or scientists dedicated to the study of insects, but still be afraid of spiders? It happens, said Richard Vetter, a retired University of California-Riverside researcher, in an article with the eloquent title "Arachnophobic entomologists", with a survey of scientists who study insects. Apparently having confidence with six-legged animals (insects) does not protect you from disgust and in some cases phobia towards others arthropods, like the spiders (eight-legged). Often it would be an aversion that dates back to childhood.

Medicine: annoying chewing

(Photo: Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash)

The IgNobel 2020 for medicine is divided between the Netherlands and Belgium, to a group of researchers who deserve credit for “Having diagnosed a long unrecognized medical condition: La misophonia from stress in hearing the noise of other people while chewing ”. More generally, the researchers focused on studying more deeply the annoyance, sometimes associated with anger and intense emotions, they explained years ago on Plos One, given by sounds issued by other people, including that related to chewing or breathing, and to investigate the usefulness of possible treatment strategies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Medical education, political scientists

(Photo: Jørgen Håland on Unsplash)

Famous names for IgNobels in the field of medical education. It goes from Donald Trump to Jair Bolsonaro, passing through Boris Johnson, until Vladimir Puntin and Alexander Lukashenko. The merit what is recognized to them is that, we read in the motivation, of "Using the Covid-19 pandemic to teach the world that politicians can have a more immediate effect on life and death than that of scientists and doctors". The references are obviously to the externalizations, to the positions and policies taken during the Covid-19 pandemic. The aforementioned share the award with Narendra Modi, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Alexander Lukashenko, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.

Material science: knives made of feces do not work

Yes, you read that correctly. There is a team of researchers, scattered between the US and the UK, who have produced knives from I did frozen human beings (according to some accounts it seems that they did Inuit) proving that no, they don't work. And so, as a result, you don't believe everything that is said about the Inuit.

2018 IgNobel awarded: from self-colonoscopy to cannibalism to lose weight

They were assigned to the historic auditorium of the Harvard University in Cambridge, in Massachussetts gli IgNobel Awards, the awards for the strangest searches of the year. A fixed appointment for millions of fans and one thousand hundred spectators who attended the ceremony live.

To the participants, who, as the organization points out, arrived at Cambridge at his own expense, he was awarded a diploma and a ten billion dollar bill of Zimbabwe, which at the current exchange rate is worth approx 40 euro cents. The ceremony, as always, was seasoned with the classic irony of the presenters, who gave the participants an appointment for next year, with the classic "if you didn't win the prize tonight, and especially if you did, don't worry: you will have more luck there. 'next year!".

But let's see together which were the most bizarre projects awarded.

The roller coaster to cure kidney stones
It is one of the most widespread and annoying pathologies, which forces millions of people to undergo removal surgeries. We are talking about kidney stones.
According to a study published by some scientists of the Michigan State University in the Journal of The American Osteopathic Association, the roller coaster could be effective in the treatment of kidney stones, making them slide towards the ureter and thus facilitating expulsion.
The award was withdrawn from Dave Wartinger, a professor emeritus al College of Osteophatic Medicine.

Are we humans or chimpanzees?
The approach of the study conducted by a team of the Lund University and published on Primates. Scientists have focused on the strange similarities between humans and chimpanzees, which in popular culture they are used to imitating us.
According to scholars, however, there is an interspecies emulation in place: the more primates tend to reproduce our actions, the more we do it with them. The observations to conduct the study were conducted in the Lund Zoo in Sweden, which showed that 10% of the actions performed by humans and chimpanzees are imitations of the gestures of the other species.
Among the most emulated gestures are clapping, kissing and hitting the window panes.

The flies in the wine
TO Paul Becher is Peter Witzgall the prize was awarded for having "proved that wine experts are able to identify without mistake, based only on the aroma, the presence of flies in a glass".
In the study published in a journal, the team showed that inserting a nanogram of pheromone produced by the female fruit fly is enough to attract the males and give the wine an unmistakable, as well as unpleasant, flavor.

The effectiveness of saliva
For the next study we moved on to Portugal, where a group of scientists set out to prove whether human saliva can be used to clean dirty surfaces. Studies judging by what we read "have shown that saliva is the best product for cleaning the tested surfaces, thanks to the action carried out by enzymes ".

The self colonoscopy
From Japan comes a study that talks about the lessons he has learned Akira Horiuchi, of the Department of Gastroenterology at Showa Inan General Hospital in Komagane, performing self-colonoscopy. According to the doctor, the position would be more appropriate than the classic one, as well as simpler and more efficient.

The unread instructions
The study conducted by the Queensland University of Technology School of Design was published in 2014 in an Australian journal and is called RTFM (Read the Field Manual). The work argues that most consumers do not read the instruction manual of the products used, especially young, well-educated males.

Cannibalism makes you lose weight
Universally described as a mental illness, second James Coland of the University of Brighton cannibalism would help to lose weight. The reason is to be found in the nutritional intake of human meat: for wild boars and beavers the intake of calories is about 900 per kilo of meat, while for ours the figure drops to 300. Furthermore, the human body has a percentage of muscles by 38%, less than that present in other animals.

Driving makes you nervous
Nothing strange so far. Francesco Alonso and some colleagues of theUniversity of Valencia they tried to scientifically prove that driving is very nervous. All through the measurement of heart rate, motivation and the effects of yelling and cursing.
The result was that 41.6% of Spanish drivers never insulted other drivers. It would be interesting to carry out the same experiment in Italy too.

The stamps to detect impotence
The study of John Barry it is certainly one of the most peculiar and strange. It all goes back to 1980, when it was published in the journal Urology, in which the doctor described a "technique based on the use of stamps to detect nocturnal erections to assess impotence".
The operation is very simple and involves the application of some postage stamps on the flaccid penis before sleeping. If upon awakening the denticles between the stamps are torn, it means that penile tumescence occurred during the night, which excludes any type of erectile dysfunction.

The voodoo rites to calm the bosses at work
If your bosses are too ruthless at work, you can put the study in place Lindie Lang, who revealed how to build a voodoo head doll to pierce it with pins, burn it and torture it, causing a sense of relief and a lower perception of injustice, increasing cognitive performance.


Sponsored by the American science-humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), the Ig Nobel Prizes are presented to the public at a gala ceremony held in Harvard University's Sanders Theater, and also delivered by true Nobel Prize winners. The ceremony is co-sponsored by the Harvard Computer Society, the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students. Unlike the Nobel Prizes, the Ig Nobels do not provide a cash prize for the winners. The ceremony is followed a few days later by the "Ig Informal Lectures" at MIT, during which the awarded researchers can present the results and the importance of their research to the general public.

The first edition of the Ig Nobel Prizes was held in 1991. The awards have sometimes raised criticism - as in the case of the two attributed to homeopathy research - but more often draw attention to scientific articles that contain funny or curious aspects.

Examples of award-winning research range from the discovery that the presence of humans tends to sexually arouse ostriches, to the claim that black holes meet all the technical characteristics that would make them the place where Hell is located.

Contrary to the Darwin Awards, which are intended for entertainment purposes only, the purpose of the Ig Nobel is also to attract public interest in science. The ceremony is recorded and broadcast in the US on National Public Radio, and, in recent years, theIg Nobel Tour performed shows in the UK during "National Science Week".

In 1995, Sir Robert May, the British government's chief science advisor, demanded that organizers exclude British scientists from the award, arguing that the prizes risked making "genuine" experiments ridiculous. May was criticized by the entire British press and his request was ignored.

Since 2001 it has been possible to watch the Ig Nobel award ceremony live on the Internet. With a month delay, it is then made available in streaming for broadband users in Real Player format.

Throughout 2004, two volumes have been published that collect the articles of various winners, one with ISBN 0-7528-5150-0 (hardback), and the other with ISBN 0-7528-4261-7 (hardback).

To date, only one person has won both the Ig Nobel Prize and the Nobel Prize. This is Andrej Gejm, who was awarded the Ig Nobel in 2000 (along with Sir Michael Berry) for their demonstration of the flying frog, resulting from research on diamagnetic levitation, [3] and in 2010 won the Nobel for his research on graphene. [4]

Did They Really Do These Things?

Are these things real? Yes, indeed. You can look it up. That’s why we give you the references.

The only exceptions came in 1991, the very first year of the ceremony, and 1994. In 1991, three additional Prizes were given for apocryphal achievements. In 1994, one prize was based on what turned out to be erroneous press accounts. Those four apocryphal achievements are not included in the list on this page. ALL the other Prizes, in all years, were awarded for genuine achievements.

For extensive background info and additional reference for many of the past winners, see the books Marc Abrahams has written about Ig Nobel Prizes.