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Friday, October 21, 2016

Briefs for rodents and life among the goats: awarded IG Nobel prize

Harvard University hosted the 26th the ceremony of awarding the winners of the IG Nobel prize awards, presented annually for the most bizarre and absurd, at least at first glance, the achievements in science and related fields. MK figured out, for what services the winners are rewarded with this – sometimes dubious – honor.

Prize in the category “Reproduction” was awarded to the Egyptian urologist Ahmed Shafiq, a study which focused on the impact of underpants from different material on the reproductive function of rats. The experiment used linen polyester wool or cotton. As it turned out, the least favorable way affect the sexual life of rodents pants made of polyester – they reduced male power animal is approximately 87 percent. Unfortunately, in 2007, Ahmed Shafiq died, however, in contrast to the Nobel prizes, the IG Nobel is awarded not necessarily people living today.

The economic prize was awarded to experts from the UK and New Zealand, who undertook to prove that from the point of view of an observer the dark stones have the same personality traits, and lighter others. The authors themselves, it does not take seriously the idea of studying the nature of the stones – their true goal was to show the inconsistency of the studies, according to which people confer personality traits of certain brands, “successfully” applying the evidence base of such works to a stationary and rather boring objects.

The prize in physics was shared by two groups of researchers, of which one has wondered why flies don’t like to sit on white horses, and the other is why the flies like to sit on the black tombstones. In both cases, the experts came to the conclusion that because of the peculiarities of the structure of the eyes of many insects prefer smooth and dark, but the light-reflecting surface, the same dragonflies they resemble the surface of the water.

The IG Nobel prize for chemistry, perhaps, be called the “mocking” of all issued in the current year. She handed the engineers of Volkswagen, which was awarded “for the solution to the problem of air pollution from vehicles by automatically reducing the amount of emissions at the time of testing.” Previously software that allows you to “circumvent” the requirement of harmful substances in exhaust gases, has become a cause for the outbreak investigation in many countries, and the company already agreed to pay in this regard, a number of compensation.

In the category “Medicine” winners announced by scientists from the German University of Lubeck, which found that people whose itches left arm, can stand in the mirror and scratch your right hand, thus successfully “tricking” your own brain and partially getting rid of discomfort. By the way, the researchers believe their findings, confirmed by experiment, with the participation of 20 volunteers, not as useless as it might seem at first glance – not always to “scratch where they itch” is a good idea, especially in some diseases of the skin.

Two nominations were issued for research, one way or another on the theme of truth and lies. First, in the field of psychology – were awarded to researchers from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada and the USA, which asked 1 005 people aged 6 to 77 years how often they had lied over the past days and came to the conclusion that most tell a lie teenagers, and the most successful adults, but not elderly. In this case, the jury found funny the fact that scientists “interviewed a thousand liars, and decide whether to believe their answers.

The peace prize, which was awarded to scientists from Canada, also touches on the theme of deception. Professionals interested in the phenomenon, forcing to perceive phrases that sound profound, as true, even if in fact they are, by and large, are a set of disjointed words such as “Integrity inexplicable silences infinity”. Trying to figure out which people are most likely to be fascinated with these statements, the researchers came to the not surprising conclusion – those who believe in the supernatural, alternative medicine and conspiracy theories, and simply people with low cognitive abilities.

Two IG Nobel laureate, Charles foster and Thomas Thwaites, shared the prize in biology for the fact that they both tried to live in the shoes” of different animals. One of them was used to the role of badger, otter, Fox and deer, while the other tried to live among goats and even used a special fixture that allows you to walk on all fours.

The IG Nobel prize in literature was awarded to writer and entomologist Fredrik sjöberg, wrote a memoir in three volumes, on how he collected various flies. Awards he won for a description of all pleasures delivered by collecting flies that are dead and the flies which were still alive.

Finally, in the tenth nomination – “Perception” – the winner became Japanese researchers Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, who found that objects look closer and larger when seen upside down between his own legs. This effect persisted even when the experiment participants were given glasses that turn the image in the “correct” position.

IG, or Ignobelevskoy prize (ignoble — “shameful”) was established in 1991 and since then is awarded annually. It was founded by a mathematician from Harvard University Marc Abrahams and the editorial staff of the humor magazine “Annals of improbable research” (Annals of Improbable Research), which is a parody of a scientific journal. The prize is awarded in ten categories, five of which overlap with the nomination of the Nobel prize, and five change every year. Considered to be the founders of the award it was created with the aim of increasing the interest of a General audience to science. Every year, including this, the ceremony ends with the traditional phrase “If today you did not win the IG Nobel prize – and especially if you won – let next year you’ll get lucky”.

Last year held a jubilee, the 25th presentation of the award. Its winners became famous for such scientific breakthroughs as the discovery of a way to turn boiled eggs to raw, the discovery of the words “huh?” (interjections, on the set of languages related to each other representing a request to repeat the last phrase of the interlocutor), studies about the dangers and benefits of kisses, find places on the human body, the bite of insects which are most painful, and so on.

Although the IG Nobel prize are sometimes also called “antinobelevskoy” fully pit them against each other would be an understatement. The IG Nobel prize, as stated on her official documents, awarded “for achievements that first make you laugh and then think. That is the main criterion to qualify for it, though one should not assume the lack of practical application for the results obtained. Thus awarded the IG Nobel prize by real Nobel laureates, and those who got it, subsequently have the right to spend on his discoveries lectures, albeit jokingly. The famous physicist Andre Geim is the winner of the IG Nobel and Nobel prizes at the same time. First, he received in 2000 for experiments with the “flying frog” and the second one ten years later for the development of the first method of obtaining graphene.


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