The Ig Nobel Prizes honor the wackier scientific achievements of this world
Highlights from this years ceremony include a man who lived as a goat and another as a badger
A man who lived like a goat in the Alps for three days. Researchers who dressed rats in woolly trousers to understand their sex lives. And scientists who investigated the personalities of rocks.
They shared a stage Thursday night, but they weren’t actors in the world’s weirdest pantomime.
Instead, they’re just some of the winners of the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize held at Harvard University.
“It’s like the weirdest f-ing thing that you’ll ever go to… it’s a collection of, like, actual Nobel Prize winners giving away prizes to real scientists for doing f’d-up things…it’s awesome,” Amanda Palmer, a performer and writer, was quoted as saying on the Ig Nobel website.
The spoof awards – which aren’t as famous as the real Nobels – are held annually and were inspired by the Annals of Improbable Research, an American science humor magazine that celebrates and honors the wackier inventions from the scientific community.
The main aim of the Ig Nobels is to make people “laugh, then think,” and incite the public’s interest in STEM, according to the Ig Nobel website.
Chaotic, but fun
While regular award ceremonies are serious affairs, the Ig Nobels go out of their way to be wacky.
Audience members typically throw paper planes towards the main stage, while some Ig Nobel winners either come dressed as their research or perform a colorful rendition of it.
Take, for example, Thomas Thwaites, who won the biology prize and who attended the 2016 ceremony on all fours dressed as a goat with prosthetic extensions on his limbs (his project was titled “A holiday from being human (GoatMan).”
Or, Japan’s most eccentric inventor Dr Nakamats, winner of the 2005 Ig Nobel for nutrition, who performed his immunity-boosting anti-cancer song at the 2015 awards ceremony.
Of the 10 awards handed out annually, other highlights from this year included prizes for a German team who discovered that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by peering into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa).
The Perception prize went to Japanese researchers who examined whether things look different when you bend over and peer at them through your legs. See what they found.