And the winners aren't... Ig Nobel prize 'celebrates' silly science - from penis amputation research to star-gazing dung beetles and walking on water

 

The Ig Nobel prize winners have been announced, with stargazing dung beetles, penis amputations and rodent guzzling recognised in an award ceremony that celebrates the sillier side of scientific research.

Academics from around the world gathered for the ceremony, held annually at Harvard University and winners were given just 60 seconds to make an acceptance speech or risk being booed off stage by an eight-year-old girl.

The obscure, the improbable and the obvious were honoured in full, with a UK team of scientists scooping an Ig Nobel in the ‘Probability’ category for discovering that cows are more likely to stand up the longer they have been lying down.

Livestock researchers from Scotland's Rural College also concluded that once a cow had stood up it was quite difficult to predict when it would lie down again.

Another team of researchers, this time from France and the US, were rewarded for discovering that drinking alcohol makes people think they are more attractive as well.

Knocking back the wine also makes others appear more alluring, a fact frequently observed among the lubricated in pubs and clubs.

The Archeology prize was awarded to a scientists Brian Crandall and Peter Stahl, for their dedication to discovering what happens to human’s digestive system when you swallow a dead shrew.

A European team of scientists were honoured in the ‘Physics’ classification for their devout discovery that people really can walk on water. However before Jesus’s famous feat appears any less numinous, the research also showed it would only be possible if that person and the water was on the moon.

Joint Prize in Biology and Astronomy went to the team which discovered dung beetles navigate their way home by looking at the milky way. Tongue firmly in cheek, the Safety Engineering prize was awarded for the invention of a system that traps airplane hijackers in an airtight pod before ejecting them out the plane and parachuting them to earth where they are picked up by police. Sadly inventor Gustano Pizzo died in 2006.

Organised by the humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research,the Ig Nobel prizes have a more serious side too, intending to recognise research that “first makes people laugh, and then makes them think”.

Reflecting this in some ways, the Peace prize was awarded to the President of Belarus for making it illegal to applaud in public.

Authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko rules the former Soviet nation with draconian laws, which led to German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle labelling him ‘Europe’s last dictator’ in 2012. Lukashenko responded to Westerwelle, who is openly homosexual, that it was “better to be a dictator than gay”. Joint winner with Lukashenko were the Belarus State Police who managed to arrest a one-armed man for applauding.

The Public Health prize and Medicine prize were awarded for matters seemingly ludicrous but definitely not to be laughed at.

A study into penile re-attachment after amputations, often by jealous wives, was recognised in the former category, and the assessment of how listening to opera affects mice heart transplant patients in the latter.While researchers admitted they werent exactly sure why opera helped the mice recover, the harmony of Verdi and Mozart could be the new weapon in helping transplant patients to recover. Which is music to medicine's ears.

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game