The award of this year’s Nobel Prizes in Sweden has been popping up in the news over the last few days.  Truckshunters do not, however, concern themselves with such trivia.  We set our sights much, much higher - or at least way off to the side - and focus our collective attention on the kind of scientific research and innovation that really matters:  the kind that doesn’t just make us think but makes us laugh as well.

Which is why it’s time once again to report on this year’s Ig Nobel prize recipients who received their awards at...

The 25th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

...which took place on Thursday 17 September at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre (which, for some reason, uses the British English spelling of ‘theatre’).

You can watch a webcast of the whole shebang here:


I can confirm that it’s great fun.  I can also confirm that it takes almost two hours.  So - in case you (mistakenly) think that you may have better things to do with two hours that you’ll never get back - here’s a summary of this year’s Ig Nobel Award Winners.
Awarded to a joint team of researchers from Australia and USA for ‘inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg’.

Awarded to a team from USA and Taiwan for ‘testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds)’.
This seems to be broadly true - I’ve tested the theory myself several times over the last few days.

Awarded to a team from the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and USA for ‘discovering that the word huh? (or its equivalent) seems to exist in every human language - and for not being quite sure why’.

Awarded to a dedicated team scattered amongst Italy, Singapore, USA, India, UK, France, Luxembourg, Germany and Japan for ‘discovering that many business leaders developed in childhood a fondness for risk-taking, when they experienced natural disasters (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and wildfires) that - for them - had no dire personal consequences’.

Awarded to the City of Bangkok Metropolitan Police for ‘offering to pay policemen extra cash if the policemen refuse to accept bribes’.

Awarded to teams from Japan, China, Slovakia, UK, USA and Germany for ‘experiments to study the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing (and other intimate, interpersonal activities)’.

Awarded to a team from Austria, Germany and UK for ‘trying to use mathematical techniques to determine whether and how Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco (above), managed, during the years from 1697 to 1727, to father 888 children’.

Awarded to a team from Chile and USA for ‘observing that when you attach a weighted stick to the rear end of a chicken, the chicken then walks in a manner similar to that in which dinosaurs are thought to have walked’.

Awarded to a team of researchers across Canada, UK, New Zealand, USA, Bahrain, Belgium, Dubai, India, South Africa, China and Syria for ‘determining that acute appendicitis can be accurately diagnosed by the amount of pain evident when the patient is driven over speed bumps’.
Special congratulations to the Syrian researcher - Abdel Kader Allouni - for partaking in what must have been ‘difficult’ circumstances.

Awarded jointly to two people:
Justin Schmidt (USA), for painstakingly creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which rates the relative pain people feel when stung by various insects; and
Michael L Smith (UK), 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).

As the citations say, research that makes us smile and then think.
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