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Banana peel takes top Ig Nobel Prize

Banana peel physics, Jesus on toast and dog dedication were among the winners of the 2014 Ig Nobel Prizes.

By Gabrielle Levy
Banana peel takes top Ig Nobel Prize
(Improbable.com)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The winners of the Ig Nobel Prize conducted real science, but their projects will still make you laugh.

The "24th First Annual" awarding of the spoof prize was celebrated Thursday night at Harvard University, where a study examining the physics of slipping on a banana peel took home the top award.

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The prizes are meant to showcase "achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think," where the science is serious in intention.

The banana peel study, conducted by Japanese researchers, measured the friction between a shoe and a banana skin, then the banana skin and the floor when stepped on.

Among the other awardees:

- The neuroscience prize went to scientists in China and Canada who attempted to understand what happens inside the brains of people who see the face of Jesus on toast;

- The psychology prize went to an American, Australian and British team that examined evidence that night owls tend to be more self-admiring, psychopathic and manipulative than early birds;

- The public health prize wine to Czech, Indian, Japanese and American researchers investigated the mental hazards of owning a cat;

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- The biology prize went to a team of German, Zambian and Czech scientists who documented the phenomenon that dogs align themselves with Earth's magnetic field while defecating; and

- The economics prize went to the Italian National Institute of Statistics for improving the official economic picture by including revenue from prostitution, illegal drug sales, smuggling and more illegal financial transactions;

- The medicine prize was shared by India and the U.S. for treating "uncontrollable" nosebleeds using strips of cured pork;

- The Arctic science prize went to German and Norwegian researchers for dressing humans as polar bears and testing the reaction of reindeer; and

- The nutrition prize went to Spain for this study: "Characterization of Lactic Acid Bacteria Isolated from Infant Feces as Potential Probiotic Starter Cultures for Fermented Sausages."

Below, you can watch the entire ceremony, in which awardees got 60 seconds to give their acceptance speeches -- with an 8-year-old girl running the stopwatch.

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