BOSTON (AP) – The sex lives of constipated scorpions, a cute duck with an innate understanding of physics, and a life-sized rubber mouse may not have much in common, but they all inspired this year’s winners of the Ig Nobels, the prize for a comic scientific achievement.
Held less than a month before the actual Nobel Prizes are announced, Thursday’s 32nd annual Ig Nobel ceremony was for the third consecutive year webcast on a pre-recorded affair on the website of the journal Annals of Improbable Research.
The winners, who were honored in 10 categories, also included scientists who discovered that when people are attracted to each other on a blind date, their heart rates synchronize, and researchers who looked into why legal documents can be so baffling, even to the lawyers themselves.
Although the ceremony was pre-recorded, it kept much of the fun of the live event usually held at Harvard University.
As in the Ig Nobel tradition, the real Nobel laureates presented the prizes, using a bit of video: the Nobel laureates presented the prize from the screen, and the laureates reached out and presented a prize sent to them and sent by themselves together into it. view
The winners received a virtually worthless $10 trillion Zimbabwean bill.
Ig-nited curiosity? More information about some of the winners:
BRING YOUR DUCKS INTO A REGIME
“Science is fun. My kind of tagline 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 for studying why a duck follows. their mothers in one. file formation.
It’s about energy conservation: The ducks are drafting, like stock cars, cyclists and runners in a race, he said.
“It all has to do with the flow that happens behind that main organism and the way that movement in formation can be an energetic advantage,” said the aptly named fish, whose specialty studying how animals swim.
He shared the prize with researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, who discovered that the ducklings were surfing after their mother.
THAT SYNCING FEEL
Eliska Prochazkova’s personal experiences inspired her dating research that earned her and her colleagues the Ig Nobel in cardiology.
She had no problem finding her seemingly perfect match on dating apps, but often found that there was no spark when they met face to face.
So she set people on blind dates in real social settings, measured their physiological reactions and found that the heart rates of those attracted to each other were synchronized.
So, is her work evidence 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. Quickly. Within the first two seconds of the date, the participants formed a very complex idea about the person sitting in front of them.”
A CRUEL STING
Solimary García-Hernández and Glauco Machado from the University of São Paulo in Brazil won the Ig Nobel for biology for studying whether constipation destroys the sex life of a scorpion.
Scorpions can disconnect part of the body to escape a predator – a process known as autism. But when they lose their tails, they also lose the last part of the digestive tract, which leads to constipation – and, in the end, death, they wrote in the journal “Integrated Zoology.”
“The long-term decline in locomotor performance of automated males may interfere with searching for others,” they wrote.
THAT’S MOOSE, HER HOME
Magnus Gers won the Ig Nobel in safety engineering for making a moose “crash test dummy” for his master’s thesis at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, published by Sweden’s National Road and Transport Research Institute.
Frequent moose vs. vehicle collisions on Swedish highways often result in injuries and death to people and animals, Gers said in an email. But car makers rarely include animal crashes in their safety testing.
“I think this is an interesting, underexplored area that’s getting all the attention it can get,” he said.
CAN YOU SPEAK LEGAL?
Anyone who has ever read a terms of service agreement knows that legal documents can be completely incomprehensible.
That frustrated Eric Martinez, a graduate student in the brain and cognitive science department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who also has a law degree from Harvard.
He, Francis Mollica and Edward Gibson shared the Ig Nobel literature for analyzing what makes legal documents unnecessarily difficult to understand, research that appeared in the journal “Cognition.”
“Ultimately, the hope is that lawyers will think a little more with the reader in mind,” he said. “Clarity not only benefits the layman, it also benefits lawyers.”