SoT 118: The 2013 Ig Nobel Prizes

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Download Now!Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall and Dr. Mick Vagg.

The Ig Nobel Prizes honour achievements that first make us laugh, then make us think. We take a look at this year’s winners: from dung beetles to penis amputations!

MEDICINE PRIZE
A team of scientists from Japan, China and the UK for assessing the effect of listening to opera, on heart transplant patients who are mice.
Classical music affects heart transplants

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE
Scientists from France, the USA, UK, The Netherlands, and Poland for confirming, by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.
“Beauty in the eyes of the beer holder” – people who think they’re drunk, think they’re hot

JOINT PRIZE IN BIOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY
A team from Australia, Sweden, Germany, South Africa and the UK for discovering that when dung beetles get lost, they can navigate their way home by looking at the Milky Way.
Dung Beetles Watch the Galaxy (That’s How They Roll)

ARCHAEOLOGY PRIZE
Americans Brian Crandall and Peter Stahl, for parboiling a dead shrew, and then swallowing the shrew without chewing, and then carefully examining everything excreted during subsequent days — all so they could see which bones would dissolve inside the human digestive system, and which bones would not.
Missing morsels – chewing over the results of eating a shrew

SAFETY ENGINEERING PRIZE
The late Gustano Pizzo for inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers — the system drops a hijacker through trap doors, seals him into a package, then drops the encapsulated hijacker through the airplane’s specially-installed bomb bay doors, whence he parachutes to earth, where police, having been alerted by radio, await his arrival.
IgNobels, 2013: The Safety Engineering Prize!

PHYSICS PRIZE
Scientists from Italy, UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Russia, and France for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if those people and that pond were on the moon.
Could humans run on water?

CHEMISTRY PRIZE
A team of Japanese scientists for for discovering that the biochemical process by which onions make people cry is even more complicated than scientists previously realised.
GM could hold back the tears

PEACE PRIZE
Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public, AND to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding.
What is the sound of one hand clapping?

PROBABILITY PRIZE
Scientists from the UK, the Netherlands and Canada for making two related discoveries: First, that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and Second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.
Why do cows have their ups and downs?

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE
Seven doctors in Thailand for the medical techniques described in their report “Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam” — techniques which they recommend, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck.
Reattachment of the penis. Unless it was first eaten by a duck.

The 2013 Ig Nobel Prize, designed and built (as per tradition) by Eric Workman. This year’s prize is a hammer, sealed inside a transparent glass box, with a sign on the outside that says, “In case of emergency use hammer to break glass”. Image: Improbable Research
The 2013 Ig Nobel Prize, designed and built (as per tradition) by Eric Workman. This year’s prize is a hammer, sealed inside a transparent glass box, with a sign on the outside that says, “In case of emergency use hammer to break glass”.
Image: Improbable Research

Dr. Mick Vagg is Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine, and Pain Specialist at Barwon Health. He’s a Fellow of the Institute for Science in Medicine and he often writes for The Conversation.

Download here. Duration: [0:45:31]