Of randy rats and the truth about liars

Theoretical physicist Roy Glauber (right), winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics, congratulating Mr Atsuki Higashiyama of Japan at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University in Cambridge on Thursday.
Theoretical physicist Roy Glauber (right), winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics, congratulating Mr Atsuki Higashiyama of Japan at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University in Cambridge on Thursday.PHOTO: REUTERS

10 Ig Nobel spoof awards handed out for research that makes people laugh, then think

CAMBRIDGE (Massachusetts) • The 26th annual Ig Nobel prizes have been awarded, recognising some of the silliest science around or, as organisers put it, research that makes people laugh, and then think.

The ceremony was held at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre on Thursday.

Here are the winners of the Ig Nobel spoof awards:

REPRODUCTION PRIZE

The late Ahmed Shafik, for testing the effects of wearing polyester, cotton or wool trousers on the sex life of rats.

ECONOMICS PRIZE

Mark Avis and colleagues, for assessing the perceived personalities of rocks, from a sales and marketing perspective.

PHYSICS PRIZE

Gabor Horvath and colleagues, for discovering why white-haired horses are the most horsefly-proof horses, and for discovering why dragonflies are fatally attracted to black tombstones.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE

Volkswagen, for solving the pro- blem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically electromechanically producing less emissions whenever the cars are being tested.

MEDICINE PRIZE

Christoph Helmchen and colleagues, for discovering that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by looking in a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa).

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE

Evelyne Debey and colleagues, for asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and for deciding whether to believe those answers.

PEACE PRIZE

Gordon Pennycook and colleagues, for their scholarly study called On The Reception And Detection Of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit.

BIOLOGY PRIZE

Awarded jointly to: Charles Foster, for living in the wild as, at different times, a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox and a bird; and Thomas Thwaites, for creating prosthetic extensions of his limbs that allowed him to move in the manner of, and spend time roaming hills in the company of, goats.

LITERATURE PRIZE

Fredrik Sjoberg, for his three-volume autobiographical work about the pleasures of collecting flies that are dead, and flies that are not yet dead.

PERCEPTION PRIZE

Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, for investigating whether things look different when you bend over and view them between your legs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2016, with the headline 'Of randy rats and the truth about liars'. Print Edition | Subscribe