Constipated scorpions, ducklings in formation, and moose-shaped crash test dummies: Research designed to “make you laugh first, then make you think,” has been awarded the “Ig Nobel Prizes” in the US.
Due to the corona pandemic, the traditionally shrill gala Friday night was held as an online-only event for the third time in a row. As announced by the organizers, the unfunded fun prizes, which will be awarded for the 32nd time, are aimed at “celebrating the uniqueness and honoring the imagination”.
Scorpions with constipation
For example, scientists in Brazil and Colombia have received one of ten awards for investigating whether and how constipation affects scorpion mating prospects. The award is a “great honor,” the researchers thanked during a pre-recorded event – and demonstrated what they examined using a stuffed animal scorpion.
Scientists from China, Great Britain, Turkey and the US received an award in the “Physics” category – for trying to understand how young ducks swim in formation. The researchers explained in their acceptance speech that the ducklings were basically surfing on the wave caused by their mother. “I feel like a happy duck,” commented one of them with the squeaking duck in the photo. “Let me tell you all: you are not really studying if you are not enjoying it.”
Swedish scientist Magnus Gens was recognized for developing a moose crash test dummy. He was “sincerely honored and proud to receive this award,” said Gens. His research focused mainly on the effects of a collision with a moose on a car.
Newly in love adjust the heart rate
Researchers from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Aruba were awarded for seeking and finding evidence that the newlyweds’ heart rhythm aligns when they first meet and are attracted to each other. “There are also studies that suggest that married couples synchronize their heart rate – in good times and bad,” said one researcher. “People synchronize on so many levels that they are not aware of it, and it influences the decisions they make.”
Researchers from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia were awarded an award for analyzing what exactly makes forensic documents so difficult to understand. They compared court papers with popular books and colloquialism, among other things, the researchers said.
Colon irrigation scenes on ancient Mayan pottery
Scientists in Japan have been recognized for finding the most effective way that people can use their fingers when turning the dial. Scientists from the Netherlands, Guatemala, the USA and Austria studied “ritual scenes of colonic irrigation on ancient Mayan pottery” – and were also honored for doing so.
Researchers from Poland received an award for showing that patients undergoing some form of chemotherapy may be able to alleviate side effects, such as slight swelling of the mouth by sucking on ice cream – where, for example, ice cubes have been common practice so far.
The success of people is explained by mathematics
Scientists in Italy – two of whom previously won the Ig Nobel Prize – were honored for their mathematical explanation of why the happiest, not the most talented, are successful.
Scientists from China, Hungary, Canada, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Italy, Australia, Switzerland and the US have also developed an excellent algorithm that helps gossipers decide when to tell the truth and when to lie.
Typically, over 1,000 viewers watch the gala live on-site at the Harvard University’s elite theater. But even at the online awards ceremony, which lasted about an hour and a half, which this time was under the banner of “Knowledge,” paper planes flew, there were sketches, quirky short operas and a much more bizarre slapstick – culminating in the traditional ending words of moderator Marc Abrahams, editor a scientific journal about interesting research: “If you did not win the Ig Nobel Prize this year, and especially if you did: Good luck next year!”