The 2020 Ig Nobel prize winners, awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research, were announced on September 17th. 2020 marked the thirtieth anniversary for the yearly ceremony, which was held virtually this year.
In this time of great stress, RDM member and CFO Dyanna Ballou takes you through some of the highlights. We hope you get a kick out of this year’s winners, each of whom gets a cash prize of a 10 trillion dollar bill from Zimbabwe. Stay tuned for Dyanna’s favorite at the end.
And the winners are…
Acoustics: Stephan Reber and his team for inducing a female Chinese alligator to bellow in an airtight chamber filled with helium-enriched air.
Psychology: Miranda Giacomin and Nicholas Rul for developing a method to identify narcissists by examining their eyebrows.
Peace: The governments of India and Pakistan for having their diplomats ring each other’s doorbells in the middle of the night and then run away before anyone had a chance to answer the door. (My girlfriends and I did this in junior high at the houses of cute boys. That didn’t advance my dating life either.)
Physics: Ivan Maksymov and Andriy Pototsky for determining what happens to the shape of a living earthworm when it is vibrated at high frequency.
Economics: Christopher Watkins and colleagues for quantifying the relationship between different countries’ income inequality and the amount of mouth-to-mouth kissing.
Management: Five professional hitmen in China who contracted to murder each other with none of them actually carrying out the crime.
Entomology: Richard Vetter for collecting evidence that many entomologists (scientists who study insects) are afraid of spiders, which are not insects.
Medical Education: The leaders of Brazil, the United Kingdom, India, Mexico, Belarus, Turkey, Russia and our own U.S. of A for using the Covid-19 pandemic to teach the world that politicians have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors.
Materials Science: Metin Eren and his team for showing that knives made from frozen human feces do not work well.
And Dyanna’s personal favorite (“Which I suffer from—just ask my husband!”)
Medicine: Nienke Vulink and team for diagnosing a long-unrecognized medical condition of misophonia, the distress at hearing other people make chewing sounds.