Does constipation affect the mating habits of scorpions? What is the best way to turn the door handle? And does the world need a moose crash test dummy? If these burning questions have ever troubled you, then this year’s series of (in)famous satirical science awards, the Ig Nobel Prizes, have delivered on their promise to honor “things that make people laugh, then things that make people think.”
“32. The First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony” – a parody of the prestigious Nobel Prizes – was held remotely on Thursday to celebrate the year’s extraordinary discoveries.
Among the 10 category recipients were Solimary García-Hernández and Glauco Machado of the University of São Paulo in Brazil, who won the Biology prize for their groundbreaking research into whether and how drought affects the mating opportunities of scorpions.
When attacked by predators, scorpions can release part of their tail to escape, the researchers explained at the ceremony. But because the anus is in the shed tail segment, the scorpion can’t “gasp for the rest of its life,” which causes constipation, Machado said. However, the researchers found that, despite losing part of their digestive system, scorpions are able to live and copulate, suggesting that constipation is not an obstacle to a fulfilling love life.
Another experiment found that blind daters who are attracted to each other can have synchronized heartbeats, and the Literature Prize went to the team that wrote seven pages in the journal Cognition to explain why legal documents are unnecessarily difficult to understand. Poor writing, apparently.
The coveted Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to an international effort by Junhui Wu and his colleagues for an algorithm that helps gossipers decide when to tell the truth and when to lie, highlighting “the critical role gossip plays in maintaining world peace.” ”
The physics prize was awarded for nothing more than a research paper “trying to understand how ducks manage to swim in formation”; Italy, on the other hand, scored in Economics for using mathematics to explain why success often goes to the luckiest, not the most talented. .
The Ig Nobels have been around since 1991, an event usually held at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, it has been online for three consecutive years.
The winners accepted the awards from “real and (really disgusted) Nobel laureates.” Eight past Nobel laureates presented their awards at this year’s event.