The 2022 Ig Nobel winners are here: constipated scorpions and more

The 2022 Ig Nobel winners are here: constipated scorpions and more

The truth may finally be unearthed.

The truth may finally be unearthed.
Picture: Shutterstock (Shutterstock)

This year’s Ig Nobel winners are here, and they’re as eye-catching and stunning as ever. Selections include a study showing that love at first sight can be detected by synchronized heartbeats, an answer to why legal documents are so misunderstood, and discovering the most effective way to open a door.

Running since 1991, the Ig Nobel Prizes are the brainchild of the journal Annals of Improbable Research and are co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association and the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Undergraduate Physics. It was created as a pointed satire of the Nobel Prize ceremony, one that would celebrate studies that “cannot or should not be replicated”. But more often these days, awards recognize research that is funny but still valuable. In the words of the creators, the Ig Nobels “honor achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think.”

Every year10 winners in a variety of scientific studies or acaDemic disciplines are chosen, including the Nobel-adjacent categories of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. Traditionally, awards are presented by actual Nobel Prize winners in an in-person ceremony held at Harvard University. However, due to the covid-19 pandemic, the awards have been presented online since 2020, and 2022 was no exception. But this year, organizers found a way to capture some of the usual absurdity of the Ig. They asked both Nobel laureates and Ig winners to 3D print the award – a gear with images of human teeth along the mechanical teeth of the gear – and then the presenters to “give away” the award on camera. The same routine was done for the traditional cash prize, a ten trillion Zimbabwean dollar bill.

In the applied cardiology category, the prize was awarded researcher led by Eliska Prochazkova. They showed that blind daters who were attracted to each other tended to synchronize in heart rate and skin conductance (a sign of physical or emotional arousal), but not in more overt bodily signals such as eye contact or laughter.

For literature, the Ig Nobel was awarded to Eric Martínez, Francis Mollica and Edward Gibson for pointing that legal jargon may not be the main reason lawyers are so hard to understand. Instead, as the title of their paper aptly describes: “Poor writing, unspecialized concepts, cause processing difficulties in legal language.”

In biology, the prize went to Solimary García-Hernández and Glauco Machado for study whether constipation caused by voluntarily losing a tail can affect the mating prospects of certain scorpions (Spoiler alert: Not really). In medicine, the award was given to Polish scientists by Marcin Jasiński for pointing that ice cream may be a better option than ice cubes or ice chips to help people through some of the painful side effects of chemotherapy. And in safety engineering, the Ig Nobel went to Swedish researcher Magnus Gens for creating the world’s first. moose test dummy (Moose-related car accidents are unfortunately relatively common in many parts of Scandinavia).

In engineering, the award went to scientists in Japan, led by General Matsuzaki, for painstakingly documenting the most energy-efficient way for a person’s hand to turn a doorknob (unfortunately, the paper itself it’s mostly in Japanese, but there are visual charts for those hungry for a life hack). In physics, the prize was awarded to him Two separate teams who each tried to unravel the mechanisms behind why ducklings can so easily swim in formation.

In art history, the prize went to Peter de Smet and Nicholas Hellmuth for their work in study ritual enemas depicted on ancient Maya pottery (hey, somebody’s got to do it). Peacefully, a large international team led by Junhui Wu won for their algorithm designed to help gossipers know when to lie and when to tell the truth to others.

And in economics, Italian researchers Alessandro Pluchino, Alessio Emanuele Biondo and Andrea Rapisarda WON to illustrate—with math, of course—that the most successful people are more often lucky than talented. Amazingly, this is the second Ig won by Alessandro Pluchino and Andrea Rapisarda. They previously won in 2010 for their research suggesting that organizations would be more effective if they simply promoted random people (kudos for sticking to a theme, I suppose).

The 32nd Annual Ig Nobels Award Ceremony can be seen in its entirety on YouTube Here. And for those really curious about these studies, the Ig Nobels will be releasing free public recorded talks by the researchers in the coming weeks and months.

The 32nd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

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