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Ignoble Nobel Prize

Ignoble Nobel Prize

Achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think

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19.09.2017 kl: 13:07


Riccardo Cavosi

What would happen if a Noble brain was mashed up with an “ignoble” research? A vagina mp3 would be created and questions on cats being both a solid and a liquid would easily come up. Every year Ig Nobel prizes are assigned to ten unusual scientific researches for their “honour achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think”. Being created from a word pun between Ignoble and Noble, it was established in 1991 by Marc Abrahams, co-founder of the “Annals of Improbable Research” scientific magazine. The declared aim is “to celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative, and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.” The ceremony is presented by real Nobel laureates every autumn and followed by lectures held by winners themselves at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Here the winners of the 2017 edition, being held the last 14th of September at the University of Harvard’s Sanders theatre.

Ig Nobel for Physics has been assigned to Marc-Antoine Fardin, for having used fluids dynamic to answer at the question “can a cat be both a liquid and a solid?”. Schrödinger would surely be proud of this.

Milo Puhan, Alex Suarez, Christian Lo Cascio, Alfred Zahn, Markus Heitz and Otto Braendli were awarded with the Ig Nobel for Peace to have demonstrated how the didgeridoo (a typical Australian aboriginal musical instrument) can help in fighting snoring. If you were upset with your partner’s sleeping habits, I would definitely recommend having a look at this.

A research on the relationship between a person being close to a crocodile and his/her gambling habits won the Ig Nobel for Economics. Indeed, Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Geer proved that the more a person is comfortable being close to a crocodile, the higher his/her propensity to gamble will be. Before a crazy night out gambling in Las Vegas, do yourself a favour, go to the closest zoo and see whether your able to stand up to the attraction crocodile without wetting yourself. Whether you do or not might indicate your luck on the gambling floor. Still remember, drugs in Vegas are never good.

The Ig Nobel for Anatomy has been assigned to James Heathcote, for having analysed the reason why elderly people have bigger ears. Dumbo, you’re not alone.

Kazunori Yoshizawa, Rodrigo Ferreira, Yoshitaka Kamimura and Charles Lienhard were awarded with the Ig Nobel for Biology to have discovered a mosquito living in Brazil that has inverted genitals; females with a sort of penis and males with a vagina.

The Ig Nobel for Fluid Dynamics was assigned to Jiwon Han for studying the case of a person walking backwards keeping a coffee in his hands. If you were up to trying this at home, make sure to clear out mum’s favourite vase collection.

Fernanda Ito, Enrico Bernard and Rodrigo Torres were awarded with the Ig Nobel for Nutrition for the first scientific research about human blood in the diet of a hairy vampire.

The Ig Nobel for Medicine was assigned to the French physicians Jean-Pierre Royet, David Meunier, Nicolas Torquet, Anne-Marie Mouly and Tao Jiang, for the use of brain scanning technics to measure how much people are disgusted by cheese. This is probably the only time you will ever hear a French man hating on cheese.

The Ig Nobel for Cognition was won by the Italians Matteo Martini, Ilaria Bufalari, Maria Anonietta Stazi and Salvatore Maria Aglioti, to have demonstrated how often twins are not able to visually distinguish themselves looking into each other face.

Finally, Maria Lopez-Teijón, Álex Garcia-Faura, Alberto Prats-Galino and Luis Pallares Aniorte were awarded with the Nobel for Obstetrics for the creation of their “Baby-pod”, a very particular mp3 player for baby foetus. Indeed, they discovered that a developing human foetus reacts better at music if played in the vagina rather than on the belly. Being a foetus will be much better now.


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