2018 Ig Nobel Prizes Awarded to Peculiar Research

Sunday, September 16, 2018 - 09:46

The 28th annual Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded to “achievements that first make people laugh, and then think,” on Sept. 13 at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater.

Take this year’s prize in medicine, which went to a pair of doctors who investigated whether riding a rollercoaster can help pass a kidney stone. The duo took 3D-printed kidney models for 20 rides on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Sitting in the back sections of the car yielded a 64% success rate for passing a stone, compared with 17% when seated at the front, the researchers reported in 2016 in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, Science Mag reports.

Other winners included a team that demonstrated that most people who use complicated products do not read the instruction manual (Literature Prize); researchers who surveyed Spanish drivers to determine the frequency, motivation, and effects of shouting and cursing while in a car (Peace Prize);

Past Nobel Prize winners handed out the awards, including Eric Maskin (Economics, 2007), Wolfgang Ketterle (Physics, 2001), Oliver Hart (Economics, 2016), and Michael Rosbash (Medicine, 2017). As has been tradition, each award was accompanied by a cash prize in the form of a $10 trillion bill from Zimbabwe, worth only a few U.S. cents. The organizers capped acceptance speeches at exactly 60 seconds, with winners cut short by an 8-year-old girl repeating: "Please stop. I'm bored.”

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that make people LAUGH, and then THINK. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.

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