Laughable Achievement Award winners experimented with helium-powered alligators and vibrating worms, and created knives out of frozen feces.
Some scientific advances, such as the discovery of penicillin or the structure of DNA, are such game-changers that the scientists behind them are awarded the Nobel Prize. But there are studies where alligators are given helium, or narcissists are identified by their eyebrows. Since 1991, these failures in science have received recognition of the Ig Nobel Prize, which is part of the Chronicle of Incredible Research. On September 17, 2020, this year’s cohort of esteemed laureates was announced via webcast.
While there is a huge difference in prestige between the Ig Nobel Prize and the prizes founded by Alfred Nobel, the two groups are not mutually exclusive, and there are scientists who have received both awards. The 30th Ig Nobel Awards, held entirely online for the first time due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, celebrated truly amazing research in 10 categories, six of which were presented by Nobel laureates:
Acoustics: Awarded to a team of scientists “for causing a female alligator to make sounds in a pressurized chamber filled with helium-enriched air.”
Economy: Awarded to a team of researchers that has studied “the relationship between national income inequality across countries and the average number of mouth-to-mouth kisses.”
Entomology: Awarded to a US researcher who has identified “evidence that many entomologists (scientists who study insects) are afraid of spiders that are not actually insects.”
Control: Awarded five killers “who attempted to complete the order as follows: after receiving payment for the order, Xi Guang-An handed over the task to Mo Tian-Xian, who then subcontracted the task to Yang Kang-Sheng, who then subcontracted the task to Yang Guang-Sheng, who subsequently handed it over to Ling Hsien-Si, with each subsequent assassin receiving a smaller percentage of the fee. In the end, no one committed the murder.”
Materials Science: Awarded to a team of researchers “for developing knives from frozen human feces. In this case, the knives do not work properly.
Medical educationAwarded to a group of world leaders including President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Jair Bolsonaro “for using the COVID-19 viral pandemic as an excuse to demonstrate that politicians can have a faster impact on life and death than many scientists and doctors” .
The medicine: Awarded to physicians “for diagnosing a new medical condition: misophonia – suffering from other people making chewing noises while eating.” You will also be interested to read about the most useless inventions in a separate article.
World: Awarded to unnamed government officials from India and Pakistan who “surreptitiously rang each other’s doorbells in the middle of the night and then ran away before anyone could open the door.”
Physics: Awarded to the team that has visually demonstrated “what happens to the shape of a living earthworm when it vibrates at a high frequency.”
Psychology: Awarded to a pair of scientists “for developing a method for identifying daffodils by examining their eyebrows.”
Winners receive a paper cube and $10,000,000,000,000 bill. But this is not US dollars, of course, but a relic from the days of Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation. According to available data, it was for this amount that in 2009 one could buy a loaf of bread.
Congratulations to all this year’s winners!