For its 25th edition, the Ig Nobel Prizes this year go to ‘huh’ and pain among many others, in the popular event that promotes trivial scientific achievements that are amusing, interesting, and of a mild relevance to our world today, but not completely redundant.
The Ig Noblel Prizes are a parody of the most famously known Nobel Prizes that feature multiple researchers achieving great progress in their field of study. Their satiric counterpart has the same basic principle, only with a few tweaks that doesn’t quite translate the same way, but proves fascinating facts nonetheless.
Hosted yearly by Harvard University, Nobel laureates present the prizes and the winners are awarded with $10 trillion… Zimbabwean dollars, which is roughly the equivalent of a few U.S. dollars.
However, the point of its organizer, the magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), seems to be to provide awards and a bit of distinction to some researchers that are not precisely changing the world, but still revealing a deeper insight into its nature.
The winners for the Ig Noble prize in biology, for example, have managed to fuel the theory that chickens are indeed the descendants of surviving dinosaurs since their apocalypse near 65 million years ago. By attaching an artificial tail to the birds, they observed that they shifted their movements in a way reminding them of a T-Rex or other theropod dinosaurs.
The chickens naturally changed their centre of gravity and adopted more dinosaur-like posture.
The Ig Noble prize for physiology and entomology has been awarded to Cornell University student Justin Schmidt, for his dedicated research in pain that required his exposure to around 200 bee stings in 25 places around his body with the purpose in mind to ascertain where it hurt most.
It should be not be a surprise that it was revealed that the most painful areas, now featured on what is called the Schmidt Index, were the nostrils, upper lip and penis. It seems that assuming certain areas would be downright excruciating was not an option.
Other winners in linguistics included the interesting fact that “huh?” is an international expression of confusion among almost all languages, including the more ambiguous or exotic ones. It has been deemed as the “error signal” to fall back on if all other manners of expressing do not work.
Another winner for the mathematics prize has delved into the unconventional algorithm of the intimate aspects of Moroccan Emperor Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, and has discovered that the man ruling from 1672 to 1727 could have indeed fathered 888 children. If he had sex daily, it would have required only 65 women during his reign, which was considered a conservative number given that he had an estimated 500 women in his harem.
Among the many though, one of the most scientifically significant research consisted in one research team’s ability to ‘unboil’ an egg, which could prove incredibly useful in cancer research due to the proof that proteins can be ‘unbound’.
The line may be difficult to draw and who knows what study could start a revolutionary line of research to help major issues around the world.
Image source: staticworld.net