Constipated scorpions, love at first sight inspire Ig Nobels

Constipated scorpions, love at first sight inspire Ig Nobels

BOSTON (AP) – The sex lives of constipated scorpions, cute ducklings with an innate sense of physics and a life-sized rubber moose may not have much in common, but they all inspired this year’s Ig Nobel winners, the comic scientific achievement award.

Held less than a month before the actual Nobel laureates were announced, Thursday’s 32nd annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was a pre-recorded webcast on the Annals of Improbable Research website for the third consecutive year.

The winners, honored in 10 categories, also included scientists who found that when people on a blind date are attracted to each other, their heartbeats synchronize and researchers who examined why the legal documents they can be so disconcerting, even for the lawyers themselves.

Although the ceremony was pre-recorded, it retained much of the fun of the live event usually held at Harvard University.

As has been an Ig Nobel tradition, the real Nobel laureates handed out the prizes, using a bit of video deception: the Nobel laureates handed the prize off-screen, while the winners reached out and carried a prize where they were. been sent and self-assembled View.

The winners also received a virtually worthless $ 10 trillion Zimbabwean bill.

Curiosity on? Find out more about some of the winners:


“Science is fun. My kind of slogan is you’re not doing science if you’re not having fun, “said Frank Fish, a biology professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania who shared the Physics Ig Nobel Prize for studying why ducklings follow their mothers from single-file training.

It’s about energy conservation: Ducklings are enlisting, just like stock cars do, cyclists and runners in a race, he said.

“It has everything to do with the flow that occurs behind that guiding organism and how moving in formation can actually be an energy benefit,” said Fish, whose specialty is studying how animals swim.

He shared the award with researchers from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, who found that the ducklings actually surfed in their mother’s wake.


Eliska Prochazkova’s personal experiences inspired her dating research that earned her and colleagues the Ig Nobel cardiology.

She had no problem finding her seemingly perfect match on dating apps, yet she often found there was no spark when they met face to face.

So he arranged blind dates in real social settings, measured their physiological reactions, and found that the heartbeats of people attracted to each other synchronized.

So your work is a proof of “love at first sight”?

“It really depends on how you define love,” Prochazkova, a researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands, said in an email. “What we found in our research is that people were able to decide if they want to go out with their partner very quickly. Within the first two seconds of the date, the participants had a very complex idea about the human being sitting. in front of them “.


Solimary García-Hernández and Glauco Machado of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil won the Ig Nobel Prize in Biology for studying whether constipation ruins a scorpion’s sex life.

Scorpions can detach a part of the body to escape a predator, a process called autotomy. But when they lose their tails, they also lose the last portion of the digestive tract, leading to constipation and ultimately death, they wrote in the journal Integrated Zoology.

“Long-term decreased locomotor performance of autotomized males may impair mate seeking,” they wrote.


Magnus Gers won the Ig Nobel Prize in Safety Engineering for making a “crash test dummy” for his dissertation at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, published by the Swedish National Road Research Institute and on transport.

Frequent collisions between moose and vehicles on Swedish motorways often result in injury and death to both humans and animals, Gers said in an email. However, automobile manufacturers rarely include animal accidents in their safety tests.

“I think this is a fascinating and still very unexplored area that deserves all the attention it can get,” he said. “This topic is mystical, life-threatening and more relevant than ever.”


Anyone who has ever read a terms of service agreement knows that legal documents can be downright incomprehensible.

This frustrated Eric Martinez, a graduate student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s brain and cognitive science department who also has a law degree from Harvard.

He, Francis Mollica and Edward Gibson shared Ig Nobel literature for analyzing what makes legal documents unnecessarily difficult to understand, a research that appeared in the journal “Cognition”.

“Ultimately, there is a kind of hope that lawyers will think a little bit more by thinking about the reader,” he said. “Clarity is not only to the advantage of the layman, but also to the lawyers.”

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