Cats and crocodiles make the Ig Noble spoof winning list
Scientists who investigated whether cats were liquid or solid, how holding a crocodile could influence gambling, and whether playing the didgeridoo could cure snoring have been honoured at the Ig Nobel Prize spoof awards.
The prizes are the brain- of Marc Abrahams, editor of the ‘Annals of Improbable Research’, and encourage people to think in unusual ways.
“We hope that this will get people back into the habits they probably had when they were kids of paying attention to odd things and holding out, for a moment, and deciding whether they are good or only after they have a chance to think,” Abrahams said.
French researcher, MarcAntoine Fardin’s 2014 study, ‘Can a Cat Be Both a Solid and a Liquid?’, was inspired by internet photos of cats tucked into glasses, buckets, and sinks.
The winner of the Ig Nobel in physics used mathematchild ical formulas to conclude that young cats and kittens hold their physical shape longer than older, lazier felines.
Economics winners, Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer, conducted an experiment in which problem gamblers and non-problem gamblers handled one-metre (3.3-foot) long crocodiles bebad fore playing a simulated slot machine.
The 2010 study, conducted on 103 people in Queensland, Australia, found that problem gamblers were likely to place higher bets after handling the reptiles, as their brains had misinterpreted the excitement of holding a dangerous animal as a sign they were on a lucky streak.
A multi-national team of six researchers won the Peace Prize for the 2005 paper, ‘Didgeridoo Playing as Alternative Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome: Randomised Controlled Trial.’
The conclusion that the Australian wind instrument might be of some benefit was based not on the didgeridoo’s droning tone, but rather that the daily practice involved a lot of blowing, and may have strengthened the upper respiratory tract, making breathing easier.
The awards, now in their 27th year, are to be handed out by actual Nobel Prize winners, in a ceremony at Harvard University, on Thursday.