Ig Nobel awards honor weird, funny discoveries (Update)

Sep 12, 2013 by Rodrique Ngowi

(AP)—An experiment that proved people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive and another that showed lost dung beetles can use the Milky Way to find their way home were among the winners at this year's Ig Nobel awards ceremony held Thursday.

This is the 23rd year for the award, sponsored by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research and given out to honor weird and humorous scientific discoveries. The winners come from all over the world.

Actual Nobel laureates announced the winners during a ceremony at Harvard University.

Editor Marc Abrahams, who organized the ceremony, said the point is to make people laugh and then think.

"The combination of science that is funny on its own—not because someone is making a joke, but it is funny—that's an unusual notion in the United States," he said. "It is becoming more acceptable again."

For the first time, the winners received cash prizes—$10 trillion, but in Zimbabwe dollars. So they'll each get about four U.S. dollars.

The awards ceremonies are usually silly, and this year's was no different. It included a mini-opera and a contest to win a date with a Nobel laureate.

The winners will give short speeches Saturday at MIT.

The psychology prize went to the experiment that found people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive, done by Laurent Bègue, Oulmann Zerhouni, Baptiste Subra and Medhi Ourabah of France and Brad Bushman, a professor at Ohio State University who also teaches in the Netherlands.

The dung beetle navigation experiment won the joint prize in biology and astronomy, given to Marie Dacke, Emily Baird, Marcus Byrne, Clarke Scholtz and Eric Warrant, who work in Sweden, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Other winners included Brian Crandall of the U.S. and Peter Stahl of Canada and the U.S., who parboiled a dead shrew, then swallowed it without chewing so they could examine their excrement to see which bones would dissolve in the human digestive system and which would not.

Explore further: When it comes to how pizza looks, cheese matters

4.7 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nobel chemistry prize to be announced in Stockholm

Oct 10, 2012

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will announce the winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday, capping this year's science awards before the Nobel spotlight moves to literature and peace.

Nobel winners pay tribute to deceased laureate

Dec 06, 2011

(AP) -- Two scientists who will collect this year's Nobel Prize in medicine praised late co-winner Ralph Steinman on Tuesday, saying he probably knew he was in line for the prestigious award.

Recommended for you

When it comes to how pizza looks, cheese matters

Aug 21, 2014

Most consumers have an idea what they want their pizza slice to look like. Golden cheese with that dark toasted-cheese color scattered in distinct blistery patches across the surface with a bit of oil glistening in the valleys. ...

Freedom and responsibility of science

Aug 21, 2014

Yesterday, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences presented their recommendations for "The Freedom and Responsibility of Science" in Berlin. Both research organizations appeal ...

What I learned from debating science with trolls

Aug 20, 2014

I often like to discuss science online and I'm also rather partial to topics that promote lively discussion, such as climate change, crime statistics and (perhaps surprisingly) the big bang. This inevitably ...

Activists urge EU to scrap science advisor job

Aug 19, 2014

Nine major charities urged the European Commission on Tuesday to scrap a science advisor position it says puts too much power over sensitive policy into the hands of one person.

User comments : 0