Ig Nobel Prize – for research that make you laugh


In a few weeks this year’s Nobel Prize winners will be announced, but last week the ceremony for an alternative Nobel Prize was held: The Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. The Ig Nobel Prize honor achievements that make people laugh, and then think, with focus on unusual and imaginative research.

Three of the prizes handed out went to the following three discoveries:

The Biology Prize went to a group of scientists who has studies the movement pattern of a chicken changes when its center of gravity changes. In their study they use artificial tails, which they put on the chickens, they then compare the movement between a chicken with no tail and a chicken with tail. The result suggests that birds can be used in this way to gain important insights into how bipedal dinosaurs once moved.

The prize for physiology was given to Michael L Smith who, using himself as a test subject, studied where it hurt the most to be stung by a honey bee. Smith let the bees sting him on 25 different places on the body, repeated the whole procedure three times (ie a total of 75 bee stings), and then came to the conclusion that the least painful place to be stung was the skull, the tip of the middle toe and the upper arm (they got the same pain value), while the most painful place to get stung on the nostril. The entire study (where especially the methods section is fascinating reading) are presented in the article Honey bee sting pain index by body location.

The literature prize was awarded to three scientists that studied the use of the word/sound Huh?. By studying conversations in ten different languages (from all the continents) they reached the conclusion that Huh? is a universal word, used in many different languages to make sure that the participants in a conversation are understanding one another. The article presenting this research can be found here.

Now are we just waiting for the announcement of the winners of the real Nobel Prize. The first winner will be presented at October 5th.

Text: Katharina Nordling