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Tongue-in-cheek awards honour weird and wonderful scientific studies

The Ig Nobel Prizes are given in the same 10 categories as real Nobel Prizes. This year’s winners were as follows:

Medicine: US scientists won for their paper on using roller-coaster rides at Walt Disney World as a treatment for kidney stones, finding the rides could speed up how quickly they are passed.

The paper was titled ‘Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster’ and published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.      

Anthropology: Researchers from Sweden, Romania, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Indonesia, Italy and the UK won for collecting evidence, in a zoo, that chimpanzees imitate humans about as often, and about as well, as humans imitate chimpanzees.

The paper was titled ‘Spontaneous Cross-Species Imitation in Interaction Between Chimpanzees and Zoo Visitors’ and published in the journal Primates.

Biology: Scientists from Sweden, Colombia, Germany, France and Switzerland won for demonstrating that wine experts can identify, by smell, the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine.

The paper was called ‘The Scent of the Fly’ and published in bioRxiv. 

Chemistry: Portugese researchers won for measuring how well saliva works for cleaning dirty surfaces.

Their study was titled ‘Human Saliva as a a Cleaning Agent for Dirty Surfaces’ and published in Studies in Conversation.  

Medical Education: A Japanese doctor won for his report on how to give yourself a colonoscopy while sitting in a chair – reportedly inspired by a rising rate of bowel cancer in Japan because people refuse to have colonoscopies.

His paper was called ‘Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy by Using a Small-Caliber, Variable-Stiffness Colonoscope’ and published in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. 

Literature: Researchers from Australia and El Salvador won for a study documenting that most people who use complicated products do not read the instruction manual. It was titled ‘Life is Too Short to RTFM’ (RTFM means ‘read the f***ing manual’).

Their paper was called ‘Life Is Too Short to RTFM: How Users Relate to Documentation and Excess Features in Consumer Products’ and published in  Interacting With Computers. 

Nutrition: Researchers from Zimbabwe, Tanzania and the UK won for  calculating that the caloric intake from a human-cannibalism diet is significantly lower than the caloric intake from most other traditional meat diets.

The paper was called ‘Assessing the Calorific Significance of Episodes of Human Cannibalism in the Paleolithic’ and published in Scientific Reports.

Peace: Spanish and Colombian scientists won for measuring how often, why and the effects of people shouting and swearing while driving cars.  

The paper was called ‘Shouting and Cursing While Driving: Frequency, Reasons, Perceived Risk and Punishment’ and published in the Journal of Sociology and Anthropology. 

Reproductive Medicine: Researchers from the US, Japan, Saudia Arabia, Egypt, India and Bangladesh won for testing whether the function of the penis could be measured using postage stamps.

The paper was entitled ‘Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps’ and was published in Urology.

Economics: Scientists from Canada, China, Singapore and the US won for investigating whether it is effective for employees to use Voodoo dolls to retaliate against abusive bosses.

Their study was titled ‘Righting a Wrong: Retaliation on a Voodoo Doll Symbolizing an Abusive Supervisor Restores Justice’ and was published in The Leadership Quarterly.

Source: Annals of Improbable Research