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Ig Nobel Announced – And There Are Some Odd Ones

For the past 25 years the Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded. The prizes are essentially a parody of the Nobel Prize. Where Nobel prizes are donged out for the great scientific discoveries of our age; the Ig Nobels are awarded for improbable research, waste-of-time scientific studies; and the strangest of research grants.

While the Ig Nonels are sometimes direct criticism, they are also used to highlight what on the surface appears absurd-sounding research but which can sometimes yield valuable knowledge. The awards are given by the journal the Annals of Improbable Research.

The 2015 awards included:

  • The award for Physics – A study showing that nearly all mammals take the same amount of time to urinate. This was undertaken by Georgia Tech., in the U.S. The result was that all mammals weighing more than 3 kilograms empty their bladders over about 21 seconds.
  • The award for biology was about a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg.
  • The award for medicine was in relation to experiments studying the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing.
  • With social sciences, a research group discovered that the word “huh?” occurs in every human language.

However, the award for bravery went to Michael Smith of Cornell University. Dr. Smith took it upon himself to rank the pain of bee stings across different parts of his body. To do so he let bees sting repeatedly four parts of his anatomy. These were: the skull, the middle toe, the upper arm, and, erm, his penis shaft.

According to the BBC, Marc Abrahams, the Ig Nobels’ founder, closed the awards ceremony with the words: “If you didn’t win an Ig Nobel prize tonight – and especially if you did – better luck next year.”

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.