Science

A Salute To Head-Scratching Science

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11/23/2018

When you go to the zoo, maybe you imitate the chimps, copying their faces, their gestures, or their walk. But it turns out the chimps imitate you just about as often—and as well, according to scientists. Other researchers have found that a trained nose can detect the odor of a single fly floating in a glass of wine. And that sometimes, a trip to the amusement park may be an effective treatment to aid in the passage of kidney stones.  

These projects are among the 10 selected by the editors of the Annals of Improbable Research to be honored at this year’s 28th first annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremonies. The prizes, awarded in September at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, salute work that “first makes you laugh, and then, makes you think.”

Take a look at the winners and celebrations of the 2018 ceremony below.

Akira Horiuchi wins the Ig Nobel for medical education. His report was “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy.” Credit: Alexey Eliseev
three women in lab coats doing a demonstration on stage
The winners of the Reproductive Medicine prize do a demo of their postage stamp test to determine whether the male sexual organ is functioning properly. Credit: Alexey Eliseev
an older man receives an award and makes a speech at a podium while holding up a little vodoo doll.
The Economics Prize went to researchers who investigated whether it is effective for employees to use Voodoo dolls to retaliate against abusive bosses. Credit: Alexey Eliseev
An operatic act. Credit: Alexey Eliseev
a man in a top hat holds an award made of a cutout heart with a stethoscope around it, that reads "ig nobel"
Marc Abrahams, editor and co-founder of Annals of Improbable Research, presents the 2018 Ig Nobel Prize. Credit: Howard Cannon
an audience in a theater toss paper planes
Ah… the long-standing tradition of throwing paper planes onto the stage. Credit: Mike Benveniste

Related Links

See the full list of the 2018 Ig Nobel winners.

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Segment Guests

Marc Abrahams

Marc Abrahams is the editor and co-founder of Annals of Improbable Research and the founder and master of ceremonies for the Ig Nobel Awards Ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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About Charles Bergquist

As Science Friday’s director, Charles Bergquist channels the chaos of a live production studio into something sounding like a radio program. Favorite topics include planetary sciences, chemistry, materials, and shiny things with blinking lights.

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