The 31st First Annual (not a typo!) Ig Nobel Prize ceremony was held virtually last month. Not to be confused with the Nobel Prizes scheduled to be announced in early October in Oslo, Norway, the Ig Nobel Prizes are intended to “honor achievements that first make people laugh and then make them think.”
This year’s Ig Nobel Prize award winners include:
- For biology, a team of researchers from Sweden and Ireland for their investigation into the variations in purring, meowing, squeaking, hissing, and growling in cat-human communications;
- For ecology, researchers from Spain and Iran for using genetic analysis to identify different species of bacteria found in wads of discarded chewing gum stuck on pavements in various countries;
- For chemistry, a team from Germany, the UK, New Zealand, Greece, Cyprus, and Austria for their efforts to determine the connection between odors found in airborne samples taken in movie theatres and the levels of violence, sex, drug use, and antisocial behaviors in the movie being watched;
- For transportation, researchers from the U.S., South Africa, and Namibia for their investigation of the safety of the airborne transportation of rhinoceros in an upside-down position (!!!); and, finally
- For economics, researchers from France, Switzerland, Australia, Austria, the UK, and the Czech Republic for research that found a potential correlation between the obesity of a country’s politicians and the extent of that country’s corruption.