Wacky Ig Nobel prizes show the funny side of science

Sep 13 2013, 12:11 IST
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The Nobel prize spoof honors the works of scientists that are unintentionally rib-tickling! (Reuters) The Nobel prize spoof honors the works of scientists that are unintentionally rib-tickling! (Reuters)
SummaryThe Nobel prize spoof honors the works of scientists that are unintentionally rib-tickling!

The tongue-in-cheek Ig Nobel awards were handed to dozens of scientists, including those who confirmed drunk people think they are more attractive and studied the onion enzyme that makes us cry.

The Nobel prize spoof honors achievements "that first make people laugh and then make them think," according to a press release yesterday. The Ig Nobels invite real Nobel laureates to confer honors on serious scientists for work that is generally only unintentionally funny.

There is also a peace prize, which this year was jointly awarded to the president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, for making it illegal to applaud in public, and to the Belarus police "for arresting a one-armed man for applauding."

The safety engineering prize went to late American researcher Gustano Pizzo, who invented a system to trap airplane hijackers, seal them into a package and parachute them into the hands of police.

A team from the Britain, Netherlands and Canada were awarded the probability prize for determining that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely it is it will soon stand up.

They also discovered that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon it will lie down again. The physics prize went to researchers who discovered that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond, if those people and that pond were on the moon.

A joint award in biology and astronomy was given to a team from Sweden, Australia, Germany, Australia and the UK , who uncovered the fact that when dung beetles get lost, they can navigate their way home by looking at the Milky Way.

The study by researchers who confirmed drunk people really do think they are more attractive won the Psychology Prize.

A team from Japan and Germany tackled the age-old question of why onions make us cry and discovered merely that the biochemical process is "even more complicated than scientists previously realised."

The archaeology prize went to a US-Canada team who parboiled a dead shrew, swallowed it without chewing, and then carefully examined their excretions to see which bones dissolve inside the human digestive system.

It was the 23rd edition of the Ig Nobels, awarded at the uber-prestigious Harvard University in Boston.

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