Wacky Research Featured In Annual Ig Nobel Awards Presentation


With Info from https://improbable.com/ig/winners/#ig2023

And Graphics from Some of the Research Papers

Every year for the past 33 years - at about the same time that the Nobel Prizes are doled out to recognize brilliant and commendable scientific, scholarly and humanitarian achievements - the reverse is also true ...

... The Ig Nobel Awards are presented - by the satirical "Annals of Improbable Research" magazine - to recognize goofy academic work (actually published in scientific journals), inventions and governmental policies.

The 33rd annual Ig Nobels were presented during a ceremony in mid-September, with an audience which included several real-live Nobel Prize recipients. And the 2023 winners were ...

(JOINT) CHEMISTRY AND GEOLOGY PRIZE: Jan Zalasiewicz (Poland and the United Kingdom), for explaining why many scientists like to lick rocks, in his paper entitled “Eating Fossils”.

LITERATURE PRIZE: Chris Moulin, Nicole Bell, Merita Turunen, Arina Baharin, and Akira O’Connor (France, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Finland), for studying the sensations people feel when they repeat a single word many, many, many, many, many, many, many times (a published paper entitled “The The The The Induction of Jamais Vu in the Laboratory: Word Alienation and Semantic Satiation”).

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING PRIZE: Te Faye Yap, Zhen Liu, Anoop Rajappan, Trevor Shimokusu, and Daniel Preston (India, China, Malaysia, United States), for re-animating dead spiders to use as mechanical gripping tools (“Necrobotics: Biotic Materials as Ready-to-Use Actuators”).


PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Seung-min Park (South Korea and the United States), for inventing the Stanford Toilet, a device that uses a variety of technologies — including a urinalysis dipstick test strip, a computer vision system for defecation analysis, an anal-print sensor paired with an identification camera, and a telecommunications link — to monitor and quickly analyze the substances that humans excrete (published papers entitled “A Mountable Toilet System for Personalized Health Monitoring via the Analysis of Excreta”, “Digital Biomarkers in Human Excreta”, “Smart Toilets for Monitoring COVID-19 Surges: Passive Diagnostics and Public Health”, and “Passive Monitoring by Smart Toilets for Precision Health”).


COMMUNICATION PRIZE: María José Torres-Prioris, Diana López-Barroso, Estela Càmara, Sol Fittipaldi, Lucas Sedeño, Agustín Ibáñez, Marcelo Berthier, and Adolfo García (Argentina, Spain, Colombia, Chile, China and United States), for studying the mental activities of people who are expert at speaking backward (“Neurocognitive Signatures of Phonemic Sequencing in Expert Backward Speakers”).

MEDICINE PRIZE: Christine Pham, Bobak Hedayati, Kiana Hashemi, Ella Csuka, Tiana Mamaghani, Margit Juhasz, Jamie Wikenheiser, and Natasha Mesinkovska (United States, Canada, Macedonia, Iran and Vietnam), for using cadavers to explore whether there is an equal number of hairs in each of a person’s two nostrils (“The Quantification and Measurement of Nasal Hairs in a Cadaveric Population”).

NUTRITION PRIZE: Homei Miyashita and Hiromi Nakamura (Japan), for experiments to determine how electrified chopsticks and drinking straws can change the taste of food (“Augmented Gustation Using Electricity”).

EDUCATION PRIZE: Katy Tam, Cyanea Poon, Victoria Hui, Wijnand van Tilburg, Christy Wong, Vivian Kwong, Gigi Yuen, and Christian Chan (Hong Kong, China, Canada, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Ireland, United States and Japan), for methodically studying the boredom of teachers and students (“Boredom Begets Boredom: An Experience Sampling Study on the Impact of Teacher Boredom on Student Boredom and Motivation” and “Whatever Will Bore, Will Bore: The Mere Anticipation of Boredom Exacerbates its Occurrence in Lectures”).

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Stanley Milgram, Leonard Bickman, and Lawrence Berkowitz (United States), for experiments on a city street to see how many passers-by stop to look upward when they see strangers looking upward (“Note on the Drawing Power of Crowds of Different Size”).

PHYSICS PRIZE: Bieito Fernández Castro, Marian Peña, Enrique Nogueira, Miguel Gilcoto, Esperanza Broullón, Antonio Comesaña, Damien Bouffard, Alberto C. Naveira Garabato, and Beatriz Mouriño-Carballido (Spain, Galicia, Switzerland, France, United Kingdom), for measuring the extent to which ocean-water mixing is affected by the sexual activity of anchovies (“Intense Upper Ocean Mixing Due to Large Aggregations of Spawning Fish”).

Stodgy? A yawn-fest? No, the ceremony is far from that. In addition to getting underway with a mass-release of paper airplanes, the Ig Nobel event is a fast-paced one - thanks, in large part, to the fact that the organizers have solved an ancient problem: How to keep speeches from droning on and on.

Their solution takes the form of "Miss Sweetie Poo", an eight-year-old girl whose sole purpose during the ceremony is to climb on stage, grab a microphone, and tell long-winded speakers to "Please stop. I'm bored. Please stop. I'm bored ..."