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And the 2016 Ig Nobel Prizes Go To…

Rat trousers, rock personalities, walking like a goat, and more!

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Rat trousers, rock personalities, walking like a goat, and more!

On September 22, past Nobel Prize winners gathered at Harvard University for The 26th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, honoring the researchers whose absurd and curious work has made people laugh, and left them scratching their heads. This spoof of the Nobels invites winners to “travel to the ceremony, at their own expense, from around the world to receive their prize from a group of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel Laureates.” And the prize? A crisp $10tn Zimbabwean bill (equivalent to 40 US cents).

These are the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize winners:


The late Ahmed Shafik, an Egyptian urologists, for studying the effects of wearing polyester, cotton, or wool trousers on the sex lives of rats (yes, he fashioned tiny pairs of rat pants) and men


Mark Avis, Sarah Forbes and Shelagh Ferguson, a team from New Zealand and the UK, for assessing the perceived personalities of rocks. Subjects described one rock as “a big New York type businessman, rich, smooth, maybe a little shady,” and another as “a gypsy or a traveller, a hippie.”


A team of researchers from Hungary, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, for discovering why white-haired horses are the most horsefly-proof horses, and why dragonflies are fatally attracted to black tombstones.


Volkswagen, for solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically producing fewer emissions only when the cars are undergoing emissions tests (in violation of the Clean Air Act).


Christoph Helmchen, Carina Palzer, Thomas Münte, Silke Anders, and Andreas Sprenger, from Germany, for discovering that you can relieve a pesky itch on the left side of your body by looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa).


Evelyne Debey, Maarten De Schryver, Gordon Logan, Kristina Suchotzki, and Bruno Verschuere, an international team, for asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and for deciding whether their answers were lies.


Researchers from Canada and the US, for publishing a study entitled, "On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit".


Awarded jointly to: Charles Foster, from the UK, for living in the wild as, at various times, a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox, and a bird; and to Thomas Thwaites, also from the UK, for creating prosthetic extensions of his limbs that allowed him to move in the manner of, and spend time roaming hills in the company of, goats.


Swedish entomologist Fredrik Sjöberg, for his three-volume autobiographical work about the pleasures of collecting flies that are dead, and flies that are not yet dead.


Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, from Japan, for investigating whether things look different when you bend over and view them upside down between your own legs.

You might also like: An Oxford Professor Just Won $700,000 for Solving a 300-Year-Old Mathematical Problem

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