5 Funny Discoveries Honored with Ig Nobel Prizes

By Justine Sterling |

D. Hurst / Alamy

Every September, the scientific community comes together to convince the world that geniuses are funny too, via the Ig Nobel Prizes. (Get it? It’s a play on ignoble!) The underlying goal, of course, is to get people excited about science, medicine and technology through humor. This year, the prizes honored researchers working to illuminate the world in which we live. Here, some of the highlights.

1. Banana peels are slippery. A group of four Japanese researchers won the Physics Prize for its work proving that banana peels are actually slippery in real life, not just in cartoons. They call their discovery the “frictional coefficient.”

2. Night owls might be crazy. You might think that your friend who wakes up at the crack of dawn to run a half marathon every day is the crazy one, but according to a team of multinational scientists, people who stay up late are more psychopathic than early risers. The team won the Psychology Prize for a paper called “Creatures of the Night: Chronotypes and the Dark Triad Traits.”

3. Owning a cat may make you crazy. The Public Health Prize went to six researchers who investigated how owning a cat can negatively effect humans mentally. Proof that the crazy cat lady didn’t start crazy, the cats made her that way.

4. Cured meat can cure a nosebleed. The next time you have a nosebleed, skip the tissue paper and go right to the salami. Researchers from India and the US won the Medicine Prize for their method of treating a nosebleed by packing the nasal cavity with strips of cured pork.

5. Baby poo makes great sausage. The Nutrition Prize went to a group of Spanish scientists for the study titled “Characterization of Lactic Acid Bacteria Isolated from Infant Faeces as Potential Probiotic Starter Cultures for Fermented Sausages.” No further explanation necessary. 

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