50 Interesting Ig Nobel Prize Winners

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26Charles Foster & Thomas Thwaites

The 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for Biology was awarded jointly to Charles Foster, for living in the wild as, at different times, a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox, and a bird; and to Thomas Thwaites, for creating prosthetic extensions of his limbs that allowed him to move in the manner of and spend time roaming hills of the Alps in the company of goats.

27. The 2016 Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a group of 7 researchers for measuring the frequency, motivation, and effects of shouting and cursing while driving an automobile.

28. In 2015, the Ig Nobel prize under Physiology and Entomology category was awarded to two individuals: Justin Schmidt, for painstakingly creating the Schmidt sting pain index, which rates the relative pain people feel when stung by various insects; and to Michael L. Smith, for carefully arranging for honey bees to sting him repeatedly on 25 different locations on his body, to learn which locations are the least painful (the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm) and which are the most painful (the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft).

29. In 2001, Televangelists Jack and Rexella Van Impe won the Ig Nobel Prize in Astrophysics “for their discovery that black holes fulfill all the technical requirements to be the location of Hell.”

30. Ponytail Shape Equation and Rapunzel number can be used to calculate the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail. It takes into account the stiffness of the hair fibers, the effects of gravity, and the presence of the random curliness of human hair. The study was awarded Ig Nobel in Physics in 2012.

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31Belarus State Police

In 2011, Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus made it illegal to applaud in public. Consequently, the 2011 Ig Nobel Peace prize was given to the Belarus State Police for arresting a one-armed man for clapping.

32. The 2001, Ig Nobel Prize in Biology was presented to Buck Weimer for inventing air-tight underpants that could filter bad-smelling gases through a charcoal filter.

33. The 2005 Ig Nobel Prize in Nutritional Science was presented to Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu for photographing and retrospectively analyzing every meal he ate for 35 years.

34. In 2009, a team of three Mexican scientists won the Ig Nobel Prize in Chemistry for creating diamonds out of tequila.

35. In 2003 researcher Jillian Clarke conducted research on the 5-second rule, finding no significant evidence of contamination on public flooring. For her work, she won the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize for Public Health.

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36Emptying Bladder

Three researchers won the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics for “testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).”

37. The 2004 Ig Nobel in Economics was presented to the Vatican for outsourcing prayers to India. With Roman Catholic clergy in short supply, American, Canadian and European churches were sending Mass intentions, or requests for services like those to remember deceased relatives and thanksgiving prayers, to clergy in India.

38. Three researchers in collaboration with 6 universities were awarded the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize for Acoustics for conducting experiments to learn why people dislike the sound of fingernails scraping chalkboards.

39. The 2005 Ig Nobel Peace Prize was presented jointly to Claire Rind and Peter Simmons of the University of Newcastle, in the UK, for electrically monitoring the activity of a brain cell in a locust while that locust was watching selected highlights from the movie Star Wars.

40. The 2005 Ig Nobel Prize for Biology was jointly presented to Benjamin Smith of the University of Adelaide, Australia and the University of Toronto, Canada and the Firmenich perfume company, Geneva, Switzerland, and ChemComm Enterprises, Archamps, France; Craig Williams of James Cook University and the University of South Australia; Michael Tyler of the University of Adelaide; Brian Williams of the University of Adelaide; and Yoji Hayasaka of the Australian Wine Research Institute; for painstakingly smelling and cataloging the peculiar odors produced by 131 different species of frogs when the frogs were feeling stressed.

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Testicle implants exist for dogs. Its inventor Gregg A. Miller won the Ig Nobel Prize for medicine for Neuticles - artificial replacement testicles for dogs, which are available in three sizes, and three degrees of firmness.

42. The 2005 Ig Nobel Prize in fluid dynamics was jointly presented to three researchers from Germany, Finland, and Hungary for calculating the pressure with which penguins poo, as detailed in their report, “Pressures Produced When Penguins Poo-Calculations on Avian Defecation.”

43. Researchers in Switzerland won the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for smashing people in the head with beer bottles to determine whether it is better to be hit on the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.

44. Most of your navel lint comes from your underwear and the scientist who studied it, Karl Kruszelnicki, was presented with the Ig Nobel Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in 2002 for “performing a comprehensive survey of human belly button fluff.”

45. The mystery of spaghetti breaking into multiple pieces has puzzled even the greatest scientists. In fact, two researchers were presented with the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize for Physics for their analysis that explains why uncooked spaghetti breaks into several pieces when it is bent.

46Zipper Entrapment

The 1993 Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine was presented to three researchers for their painstaking research report, “Acute Management of the Zipper-Entrapped Penis.”

47. The 2017 Ig Nobel for Obstetrics was presented jointly to four researchers for showing that a developing human fetus responds more strongly to music that is played electromechanically inside the mother's vagina than to music that is played electromechanically on the mother’s belly.

48. A hitman in China named Xi Guang-An accepted payment to murder someone. He then instead subcontracted the task to Mo Tian-Xiang, who then instead subcontracted the task to Yang Kang-Sheng, who then instead subcontracted the task to Yang Guang-Sheng, who then instead subcontracted the task to Ling Xian-Si, with each subsequently enlisted hitman receiving a smaller percentage of the fee. Nobody actually ended up actually performing the murder. They were awarded the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize for Management.

49. About 7 researchers were jointly presented with the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize for Material Sciences for demonstrating that knives manufactured from frozen human feces do not work well.

50. About eight researchers were jointly presented with the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for diagnostic medicine for determining that acute appendicitis can be accurately diagnosed by the amount of pain evident when the patient is driven over speed bumps.


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