Ig Nobel Prize 2017 Winners: Crocodiles And Gambling, Big Ears, Liquid Cats

16 September, 2017, 02:24 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Research that won an Ig Nobel prize showed that ears keep growing at a rate of 2mm per decade

"Each victor has done something that makes people laugh, then think", said Marc Abrahams, who founded the awards in 1991 and writes for the decidedly non-peer-reviewed journal Annals of Improbable Research.

Some of those honoured tend towards the spurious: French researcher Marc-Antoine Fardin's 2014 study, Can A Cat Be Both A Solid And A Liquid?, was inspired by Internet photos of cats tucked into glasses, buckets and sinks. Will playing the didgeridoo cure you of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring?

Another BMJ paper from 1995 asked "Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?" and won the anatomy prize. Or perhaps you have been plagued by the age-old question: "Can a Cat Be Both a Solid and a Liquid?"

These are not purely rhetorical questions, but actual scientific research papers that were among the winners of the 2017 Ig Nobel Prize.

The awards, which don't have fixed categories, had 10 winners this year. The 27th annual awards were announced Thursday at Harvard University.

Nobel Prize for economics laureates Eric Maskin (2007) and Oliver Hart (2016) and Nobel Physics victor Roy Glauber (2005) handed out the awards.

Dr. Milo Puhan's Ig Nobel peace prize-winning discovery is a godsend for anyone who lives with an unbearably loud snorer.

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Numerous pieces of research honored by the award ceremony might at first seem completely bat shit and off the wall, but then when you understand the processes behind them, they often suddenly make sense and have clear practical applications.

Scientists who discovered that old men really do have big ears, that playing the didgeridoo helps relieve sleep apnea and that handling crocodiles can influence gambling decisions are this years' recipients of the Ig Nobel, the prize for absurd scientific achievement. The 2010 study, conducted on 103 people in Queensland, Australia, found that problem gamblers were likely to place higher bets after handling the reptiles, as their brains misinterpreted the excitement of holding a risky animal as a sign they were on a lucky streak.

James Heathcote, a British physician who studied old men's ears, calls the honor odd but thrilling.

The biology prize went to Japanese-Brazilian-Swiss team Kazunori Yoshizawa, Yoshitaka Kamimura, Rodrigo Ferreira, and Charles Lienhard for their discovery of cave insects with male vaginas and female penises.

Other categories for the awards this year included fluid dynamics, cognition, nutrition and obstetrics.

The annual Ig Nobel Prize is a spin on the prestigious Nobel Prize.

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