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.

 

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tv
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Battle of the Five Armies trailer released
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Extras
indybest
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Life and Style
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

PMO Manager (Portfolio Management, ExCel, Cost Benefit Analysis)

£450 - £500 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: PMO Manager - 6 month co...

Senior Fund Administrator - Edinburgh - £22 p/hr

£20 - £22 per hour + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Fund Administrator, Top Four ...

Nursery Nurse

£7 per hour: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a better wo...

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Functional Consultant

£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A Microsoft Dynamics CRM...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on