It’s Nobel Prize season, which means that the Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded October 4th, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Igs go to work that “cannot, or should not, be reproduced.” They allegedly are designed to “first make people laugh, and then make people think.” Or think twice, anyway. Some of the winners:
The medicine prize went to a study on sword swallowing. One sword swallower did it on a unicycle. Which could lead to the worst flat tire story ever.
The biology prize went to a Dutch researcher for her census of all the mites, insects, spiders, crustaceans, bacteria, algae, ferns and fungi that we share our beds with. Fun guys were not included.
The chemistry prize was awarded to a Japanese scientist for extracting vanilla flavoring from cow manure. Yes, the research was a flop.
Speaking of Dutch and Japanese, Spanish researchers took home the linguistics prize for showing that rats sometimes can’t tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards. Si, es verdad. For more listen to the October 10th edition of the weekly Sci Am podcast.