And the NOBEL Prize goes too.... Now that's really weird
Silly science: Ig Nobel Prizes celebrate weird and wacky research
Why ponytails curl at the end, how buildings look smaller if you lean to the left and the invention of a device that silences bores are all among the research work being honored by this year's Ig Nobel Prizes for the oddest and silliest science.
The annual awards are presented by the Annals of Improbable Research as a whimsical counterpart to the Nobel Prizes, which will be announced next month. Raymond Goldstein, a physicist at the University of Cambridge, was set the challenge of considering the physics of ponytails by the company Unilever. He discovered that a bundle of hair behaved very much like a spring.
The Dutch psychologists Anita Eerland, Rolf Zwaan and PhD student Tulio Guadalupe were honoured for their study, "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller." The work explored how posture influences estimations of size.
Leaning to the left correlated with lower estimates, and leaning to the right correlated with higher estimates. The Japanese researchers Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada created the SpeechJammer, a machine that disrupts a person's speech by playing it back at them with a very slight delay. The device completely "disconcerts and discombobulates them", it was said. Ig Nobels for 2012 also went to US researchers who discovered that chimps can recognise other chimps by looking at snapshots of their backsides, and a team that measured the brain waves of a dead fish.
Psychology prize: Anita Eerland, Rolf Zwaan and Tulio Guadalupe, for their study titled Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller.
Peace prize: The SKN company, for using technology to convert old Russian ammunition into new diamonds.
Acoustics prize: Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada for creating the SpeechJammer, a machine that disrupts a person's speech by making them hear their own spoken words repeated back at them at a very slight delay.
Neuroscience prize: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford, for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere – even in a dead salmon.
Chemistry prize: Johan Pettersson for solving the puzzle of why, in certain houses in the town of Anderslöv, Sweden, people's hair turned green. Literature prize: The US government general accountability office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.
Physics prize: Joseph Keller, Raymond Goldstein, Patrick Warren and Robin Ball, for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail.
Fluid dynamics prize: Rouslan Krechetnikov and Hans Mayer, for studying the dynamics of liquid sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks while carrying a cup of coffee.
Anatomy prize: Frans de Waal and Jennifer Pokorny, for discovering that chimpanzees can identify specific other chimpanzees from seeing photographs of their rear ends.
Medicine prize: Emmanuel Ben-Soussan, for advising doctors who perform colonoscopies how to minimise the chance of their patients exploding.
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