Ig Nobel Prizes awarded for bee stings, unboiling an egg

"For achievements that first make people laugh then make them think."
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Sept. 18, 2015 at 10:42 AM
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Unusual achievements including unboiling an egg and measuring the pain of bee stings in 25 areas of the body were celebrated at the 2015 Ig Nobel Prizes.

The 25th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., was held Thursday night and awarded prizes "for achievements that first make people laugh then make them think."

The prizes were awarded in 10 categories.

The Chemistry Prize was awarded to a team "for inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg." The team members were Callum Ormonde, Colin Raston, Tom Yuan, Stephan Kudlacek, Sameeran Kunche, Joshua N. Smith, William A. Brown, Kaitlin Pugliese, Tivoli Olsen, Mariam Iftikhar and Gregory Weiss.

The Ig Nobel Physics Prize went to Patricia Yang, David Hu, Jonathan Pham and Jerome Choo "for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds)."

The Literature Prize went to the team of Mark Dingemanse, Francisco Torreira and Nick J. Enfield "for discovering that the word 'huh?' (or its equivalent) seems to exist in every human language -- and for not being quite sure why."

Gennaro Bernile, Vineet Bhagwat and P. Raghavendra Rau were awarded the Management Prize for research "discovering that many business leaders developed in childhood a fondness for risk-taking, when they experienced natural disasters (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and wildfires) that -- for them -- had no dire personal consequences."

The coveted Economics Prize was awarded to the Bangkok Metropolitan Police in Thailand for a policy of offering extra cash to police officers who "refuse to take bribes."

Two groups were jointly awarded the Medicine Prize for "experiments to study the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing (and other intimate, interpersonal activities)." Hajime Kimata conducted the first experiment, and the other was conducted by the team of Jaroslava Durdiakova, Peter Celec, Natalia Kamodyova, Tatiana Sedlackova, Gabriela Repiska, Barbara Sviezena, and Gabriel Minarik.

The Diagnostic Medicine Prize was awarded to a team "for determining that acute appendicitis can be accurately diagnosed by the amount of pain evident when the patient is driven over speed bumps." The team members were Diallah Karim, Anthony Harnden, Nigel D'Souza, Andrew Huang, Abdel Kader Allouni, Helen Ashdown, Richard J. Stevens and Simon Kreckler.

The Mathematics Prize was presented to Elisabeth Oberzaucher and Karl Grammer "for trying to use mathematical techniques to determine whether and how Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, managed, during the years from 1697 through 1727, to father 888 children."

The Biology Prize went to the team of Bruno Grossi, Omar Larach, Mauricio Canals and Rodrigo A. Vasquez "for observing that when you attach a weighted stick to the rear end of a chicken, the chicken then walks in a manner similar to that in which dinosaurs are thought to have walked."

The final award, the Physiology and Entomology Prize, was awarded jointly to two individuals. The first winner, Justin Schmidt, was given a prize "for painstakingly creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which rates the relative pain people feel when stung by various insects."

The second Physiology and Entomology Prize winner was Michael L. Smith, "for carefully arranging for honey bees to sting him repeatedly on 25 different locations on his body, to learn which locations are the least painful (the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm). and which are the most painful (the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft)."

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