Constipated Scorpions, Knob-Turning And Crash-Testing Moose


Every year for the past 32 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 32th annual Ig Nobels were presented during an on-line ceremony in mid-September, with an audience which included several real-live Nobel Prize recipients. And the 2022 winners were ...

APPLIED CARDIOLOGY PRIZE: Eliska Prochazkova, Elio Sjak-Shie, Friederike Behrens, Daniel Lindh, and Mariska Kret of the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Aruba, for seeking and finding evidence that when new romantic partners meet for the first time, and feel attracted to each other, their heart rates synchronize.

LITERATURE PRIZE: Eric Martínez, Francis Mollica, and Edward Gibson of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, for analyzing what makes legal documents unnecessarily difficult to understand.

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Solimary García-Hernández and Glauco Machado of Brazil and Colombia, for studying whether and how constipation affects the mating prospects of scorpions. Their research paper was entitled “Short- and Long-Term Effects of an Extreme Case of Autotomy: Does ‘Tail’ Loss and Subsequent Constipation Decrease the Locomotor Performance of Male and Female Scorpions?”

MEDICINE PRIZE: Marcin Jasiski, Martyna Maciejewska, Anna Brodziak, Micha Górka, Kamila Skwierawska, Wiesaw Jdrzejczak, Agnieszka Tomaszewska, Grzegorz Basak, and Emilian Snarski of Poland, for showing that when patients undergo some forms of toxic chemotherapy, they suffer fewer harmful side effects when ice cream replaces one traditional component of the procedure. Their research paper was entitled “Ice-Cream Used as Cryotherapy During High-Dose Melphalan Conditioning Reduces Oral Mucositis After Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation”.


ENGINEERING PRIZE: Gen Matsuzaki, Kazuo Ohuchi, Masaru Uehara, Yoshiyuki Ueno, and Goro Imura of Japan, for trying to discover the most efficient way for people to use their fingers when turning a knob.

ART HISTORY PRIZE: Peter de Smet and Nicholas Hellmuth of the Netherlands, Guatamala, the United States and Austria, for their study “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Ritual Enema Scenes on Ancient Maya Pottery”.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Frank Fish, Zhi-Ming Yuan, Minglu Chen, Laibing Jia, Chunyan Ji, and Atilla Incecik of China, the United Kingdom, Turkey and the United States, for trying to understand how ducklings manage to swim in formation. There were two research papers: “Energy Conservation by Formation Swimming: Metabolic Evidence from Ducklings” and “Wave-Riding and Wave-Passing by Ducklings in Formation Swimming”.

PEACE PRIZE: Junhui Wu, Szabolcs Számadó, Pat Barclay, Bianca Beersma, Terence Dores Cruz, Sergio Lo Iacono, Annika Nieper, Kim Peters, Wojtek Przepiorka, Leo Tiokhin and Paul Van Lange of China, Hungary Canada the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Switzerland and the United States, for developing an algorithm to help gossipers decide when to tell the truth and when to lie.

ECONOMICS PRIZE: Alessandro Pluchino, Alessio Emanuele Biondo, and Andrea Rapisarda of Italy, for explaining – mathematically – why success most often goes not to the most talented people, but instead to the luckiest.

[NOTE: This was the second Ig Nobel Prize awarded to Alessandro Pluchino and Andrea Rapisarda. The 2010 Ig Nobel Prize for Management was awarded to Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo, for demonstrating – mathematically – that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.]

SAFETY ENGINEERING PRIZE: Magnus Gens of Sweden, for developing a moose crash-test dummy.

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 ..."