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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Nose-clearing orgasms and upside-down rhinos are big winners at the 2021 Ig Nobel Prizes

An annual honour for unusual accomplishments in science that aim to make you laugh and then think, the Ig Nobel Prizes are announced by the Annals of Improbable Research

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 12, 2021 11:27:24 am
ig nobel prize, 2021 ig nobel prize, funny nobel prize, parody nobel prize awards, funny science news, strange news, bizarre news, indian expressFor the research the scientists analysed various modes of feline gestures and noise from variations in purring, meowing, hissing among others. (Source: Pexels)

If you think science is no fun, think again. Celebrating the quirky and humorous side of fact-finding, Annals of Improbable Research, has announced winners for Ig Nobel Prizes for studies into cat meows, germs on pavement gum, importance human beards and why it’s safer to transport a rhinoceros upside-down.

The science humour magazine behind the unusual award, which acknowledges offbeat and weird studies that often get overlooked, says its mission is to honour “achievements that first make people LAUGH then make them THINK”.

The 31st First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony was hosted virtually owning to the pandemic, rather than at the usual theatre at Harvard University, with real Nobel laureates handing out 10 Ig Nobels to scientists, economists, doctors and mathematicians from 24 countries across six continents, The Guardian reported.

While the prize for Medicine went to Germany-based Olcay Cem Bulut and his group of researchers for finding that sex with an orgasm can help decongest your nose, the Biology prize was bagged by Susanne Schötz who studied various feline gestures and languages to look into cat-human communication.

Scientists won the Medicine Prize for “demonstrating that sexual orgasms can be as effective as decongestant medicines at improving nasal breathing.” (Source: Pexels)

The Ecology Prize was awarded to a team of Spanish and Iranian researchers who used “genetic analysis to identify the different species of bacteria that reside in wads of discarded chewing gum stuck on pavements in various countries,” according to the official website of the awards.

While much is talked about the conservation of rhinos in African nations, till recently no one had carried out basic investigation to determine the best way to shift the hefty animals to breeding centres, the BBC reported. Wildlife veterinarian Robin Radcliffe and team found that it is safest to airlift the animals upside down and their research won the Transportation Prize this year.


In other interesting studies, Ethan Beseris from the University of Utah showed that beards may be an evolutionary development to help protect men’s faces from punches. Believe it or not, his team was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Peace.

The winner in the Chemistry category studied the “air inside movie theatres” to see whether the odours produced by the audience change or can reliably indicate the content depicted in the film.

A team of US Navy researchers won the Entomology Prize for figuring out a cheaper and more effective way to control cockroaches on submarines!

The prizes in Physics and Kinetics simply tried to find answers to why pedestrians keep bumping into each other in busy streets and sidewalks.

If the themes weren’t amusing enough, the online streaming featured a series of 24/7 lectures wherein speakers had 27 seconds then seven words to convey their thoughts on a topic, according to Mashable. “There was also a bridge-themed ‘mini-opera,’ because scientists like singing too.”

According to a report by Reuters, each winner this year was given a “paper trophy to assemble themselves and a counterfeit Zimbabwean $10 trillion note, in line with the light-hearted nature of the satirical prize.”

Interestingly, the satirical awards given out by the magazine had last year honoured Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with leaders of a few other countries in the Medical Education category for using “the Covid-19 viral pandemic to teach the world that politicians can have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors.”

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