MADRID – The Ig Nobel Prize is a parody of the Nobel Prize and is awarded every autumn. As such, this takes place a week before the announcement of the real Nobel Prize winners. And is awarded to ten studies that make you laugh at first. But then also make you think.
Accordingly, the prizes recognise the most unusual scientific works. And also this year, a Spanish team is recognised. As such, they analysed the bacteria in chewing gum thrown on the ground in different countries.
Harvard University (United States) annually welcomes the Ig Nobel, the opposite of the famous Swedish Academy awards. Therefore, as a result, the awards are designed to “make people laugh and then think”.
Orgasm as a nasal decongestant! What do bacteria in chewing gum say? Why pedestrians don’t collide? Rhinoceroses upside down in mid-air! Furthermore, these are some of the notable studies this year to receive an Ig Nobel diploma in PDF and a Zimbabwe $10 trillion bill that says nothing is worth more and has not been in existence since 2015.
These Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded in a private ceremony this year:
Medicine: Can Sex Improve Nasal Function?
The above award honours German, Turkish and British research of 18 states. And according to the authors, shows an orgasm up to an hour after can be as effective as drugs to unclog the nose and improve nasal breathing. Furthermore, the work was published in Ear, Nose & Throat Journal.
Ecology: The discarded gum bacterioma
This team was led by Spaniard Manuel Porcar, a researcher at the I2SysBio Institute for Integrative Systems Biology, the Universitat de València-CSIC (Paterna) and the company Darwin Bioprospecting Excellence, has been awarded for using genetic analysis to identify different types of bacteria in chewing gum that is on the ground of cities in different countries. Furthermore, the study ‘The wasted chewing gum bacteriome’ was published by Scientific Reports of the Nature group.
Biology: A comparative acoustic analysis of purring in four cats
Swedish research has won in this category for analysing variations in the noises cats make. For example, purr, song, chatter, trill, romp, mumble, meow, moan, screech, hiss, howl, growl, and other forms of communication between cats and humans. Consequently, a comparative acoustic analysis of purrs in four cats was published in Proceedings from fonetik.
Chemistry: The smell of the audience in the cinema as a tool to classify films
Then, a team from Germany, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece, Cyprus, and Austria decided that viewers’ body odour provides clues about a film’s genre and recommended viewing age. And the, Proof of Concept Study: Testing Human Volatile Organic Compounds as Tools for Age Classification of Films, published in Plos One, states the analysis of the air in movie theatres, through body odour testing of the public, reveals the levels of violence, sex, antisocial behaviour, drug use, and inappropriate language in the projected film.
Economy: The obesity of a country’s politicians is an indicator of corruption
This is the premise of the research of a French, Swiss, Australian, Austrian and Czech group that was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize. According to the study, Obesity of Politicians and Corruption in Post-Soviet Countries, published in Economics of transition and institution change. Moreover, images of 299 ministers from 15 countries that were part of the Soviet Union show that body mass is “strongly related” to conventional indicators of corruption.
Peace: The men developed beards to protect themselves from blows to the face
The journal Oxford Academic Integrative Organismal Biology published Impact Protection Potential of Mammalian Hair. According to the authors of this study, “a beard, similar to the long hair of a lion’s mane, can serve to protect vital areas such as the throat and jaw from deadly attacks.” Furthermore, the experiment was performed by striking a bone-like structure with and without hair covering.
Physical: Why do pedestrians collide or not?
Another international team has been awarded for their experiments in understanding why pedestrians do not constantly collide. This team are from Europe, the United States, and Taiwan. Physical Review published physics-based modelling and data representation of pairwise interactions between pedestrians. Therefore, in conclusion “social forces can act on the path planned as well as on the path actually travelled”. However, in the same field, but in the kinetic (moving) mode, an opposing study has been distinguished on why pedestrians sometimes collide with others. Mutual anticipation can contribute to self-organization in crowds. This was published in Science Advances.
Entomology (insect research): Cockroaches in submarines
Once again Oxford Academic reiterated research on treatments to decontaminate submarines. ‘A new method of cockroach control on submarines’ in the Journal of economic entomology.
Transportation: Airlift Rhinos Upside Down
However, with a significant African entry, absent from other categories, this last award went to the study, published in BioOne. This was “The pulmonary and metabolic effects of suspension by the feet”. This experiment analysed the effects of air transport on previously drugged animals and therefore concluded there are few differences in how you move them and that it is more important which products they are anesthetised with.