Ig Nobel prizes poke gentle fun at science
Pizza might protect against cancer, why wombats poop in cubes and a diaper changing machine that can be used on human babies — these are just some of the research and inventions awarded at this year’s Ig Nobel Prizes, a spoof of the actual Nobel Prize awards.
The Ig Nobels are “intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology,” according to its website.
Even if the science does sound, well, hilarious.
Organized by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, the awards have been going on for 29 years, always celebrated in September with a gala held at Harvard University. Winners accept their prizes from “genuinely bemused genuine Nobel Laureates,” the website reads.
The winners are always sure to cause a few laughs, and this year’s are no different.
Two scientists from France won the Anatomy Prize for measuring scrotal temperature asymmetry in naked and clothed postmen in France, for example (the left one is warmer, but only when the postman is clothed).
Another team won the Economics Prize for testing which country’s paper money was the grossest, or “best at transmitting dangerous bacteria” (the Romanian Leu won, but the US Dollar was a finalist).
A third team won the Peace Prize for trying to measure the pleasure of scratching an itch (itching in the ankle and back is way more pleasurable, they discovered).
There are more, and they’re all real studies.
Though some may sound ridiculous, the magazine holds that they’re not trying to make fun of science or its achievements.
“We are honoring achievements that make people laugh, then think. Good achievements can also be odd, funny, and even absurd; So can bad achievements. A lot of good science gets attacked because of its absurdity. A lot of bad science gets revered despite its absurdity,” the magazine states on their website.
Hey, we’ll take anything that encourages us to eat more pizza.