Mad Scientist Nobel Prizes Awarded

Mad Scientist Nobel Prizes Awarded

For the 32nd year, the Ig science awards, also known as the “mad scientist’s Nobel”, were awarded on Thursday night, once again in an online ceremony due to the pandemic. The Igs reward unexpected and “crazy” scientific research from the previous year or, according to the organizers, the humorous journal Annals of Improbable Research, “things that at first make us laugh but then make us think.”

It is a well-established institution that, through humor, highlights the importance of – often overlooked – scientific research, but also its not infrequent propensity for overly specialized or unnecessary studies. Each of this year’s winners received or shared with the rest of their research team, in addition to their “honorary” award, a 10 trillion Zimbabwe dollar note (where inflation this year is running close to 200%).

Among the awards given were the following:

* Applied Cardiology: To the researchers who found that when two people go on a first date and are mutually attracted, their heartbeats synchronize.

* Literature: In the study that analyzed why legal documents are unnecessarily difficult to understand (the blame lies more with their authors themselves than with the complexity of the concepts).

* Biology: In research that looked at whether and how constipation affects the sex life of scorpions and their prospects for finding a mate(!)

* Medical: To the scientists who showed that when patients undergo some forms of toxic chemotherapy, they suffer fewer side effects when ice cream replaces one of the traditional ingredients of the procedure.

* Physics: For the study of how and why ducklings manage to swim in formation (mainly because they conserve energy by doing so, especially the last in line).

* Mechanics: For trying to discover the most efficient way to use the fingers when turning a knob. According to the Japanese researchers, the larger the knob, the more fingers are needed: for knobs 1 to 2.5 cm wide, three fingers are sufficient, for knobs 2.5 to 4 cm four fingers are better, while for knobs larger than 5 centimeters, all five fingers are necessary.

* Peace: For developing an algorithm that helps gossipers decide when to tell the truth and when not.

* Economics: For the mathematical explanation of why success often comes not to the most talented, but to the luckiest. with information from APE-MPE

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