Research into the sex life of constipated scorpions, a life-size rubber moose crash test dummy, the efficient way to turn a doorknob, and “blind date” attraction analysis are some of the award-winning studies. this year with the Ig Nobel Prize to make “laugh … then think”.
For the third consecutive year, the 2022 Ig Nobel Prize winners were also announced in a pre-recorded webcast on the Annals of Improbable Research website.
The Ig Nobel Prizes, awarded every year since 1991, honor research results that make “laugh … then think”.
Nobel laureates, including Frances Arnold – who won the prestigious award in the Chemistry category in 2018 – and Esther Duflo who won in the Economics division in 2019, presented the Ig Nobel prizes to this year’s winners.
The Ig Nobel Prize winners also received a nearly worthless $ 10 trillion bill from Zimbabwe.
The winners included scientists who found there are “fewer harmful side effects” when ice cream replaces a common component of chemotherapy and researchers who found an innate sense of physics in the cute ducklings.
The duckling study probed why they followed their parents in a straight line.
Biologist Frank Fish of West Chester University in Pennsylvania, who was involved in the study, explained that duckling behavior correlates with energy conservation, adding that the little ducks are drawing similarly to cyclists and runners in a race. .
“It has everything to do with the flow that occurs behind that guiding organism and how moving in formation can actually be an energetic benefit,” said Dr. Fish.
The West Chester University biologist shared the award with scientists, including Zhi-Ming Yuan of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, who found that the ducklings swam in their mother’s wake.
“By riding the waves generated by a mother duck, a dragged duckling can achieve a significant reduction in wave resistance,” the scientists found in the study published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics in October 2021.
Scientists speculate that these ideas could be applied to shipping routes by having ships trailing behind each other to reduce drag.
“We are trying to bring this idea into the area of naval architects, so we try to make the ships smaller but smart just like the duckling maneuver. So we’ll only have a big one [ship] up front, and one chance we’ve had is probably the idea of a “sea tram” that can save a lot of energy, “said Dr. Yuan.
Researchers, including Glauco Machado of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, won the award in the Biology category this year for studying whether constipation interferes with the sex life of scorpions.
Many animals, including scorpions, lose a part of their body to escape predators, a process called autonomy.
However, when these creatures detach their tails, they also lose the last portion of the digestive tract which can lead to constipation and probable death, scientists say.
“After autotomy, individuals lose nearly 25% of their body mass and the last portion of the digestive tract, including the anus, which prevents defecation and leads to constipation, because regeneration does not occur,” they reported. the researchers in the study.
Their research found that while tail loss had no immediate effect on scorpion locomotion, the long-term decreased movement of autotomed males can impair mate seeking.
However, the scientists found that because death from constipation takes several months, “males have a long time to find mates and reproduce.”
Magnus Gers won the Ig Nobel 2022 in the Safety Engineering category for making a full-size rubber moose “crash test dummy”.
Mr. Gers noted that big deer are often involved in car collisions on Swedish highways, but car manufacturers rarely test their vehicles to avoid animal accidents.
“What is important to understand is that the whole beginning of creating this moose crash test dummy is to understand what kind of damage can be done to vehicles by these animals on Swedish roads and in all parts of the world where these animals reside. large animals, “he said.
Other winners included a team from the University of Edinburgh in the UK and MIT in the US for analyzing what makes legal documents unnecessarily difficult to understand, and another won the Ig Nobel Peace Prize for developing an algorithm to help gossip decide “when to tell the truth and when to lie”.
A team of Japanese scientists won the award in the engineering category for their study of discovering the most efficient way to use your fingers when turning a knob.
In the “applied cardiology” category, Eliska Prochazkova of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and her team, won the Ig Nobel 2022 for discovering that when new romantic partners first meet and feel attracted to each other. from each other, “their heartbeats synchronize.”