The 2018 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded at the 28th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, on Thursday, 13 September 2018, at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. Here are some of them:
The Chemistry Prize went to Portuguese researchers who measured the degree to which human saliva is a good cleaning agent for dirty surfaces. Compared with popular solvents, saliva was the superior cleaning agent, particularly for gilded surfaces.
They even identified the likely component responsible and suggested solutions of this enzyme (α-amylase) to produce a synthetic version of saliva for cleaning.
A team demonstrated that wine experts can reliably notice, through smell, the presence of a fly in a glass of wine, since female fruit flies emit a pheromone with an unpleasant scent easily detected by humans.
A British archaeologist calculated that Palaeolithic people consumed fewer calories from a human-cannibalism diet than from a traditional meat diet. The human body is not particularly high in nutritional value, especially when compared to other kinds of meat, therefore there were primarily social and cultural reasons for cannibalism.
Two scientists from USA were declared the winners for their study of using roller coaster rides to try to hasten the passage of kidney stones. They found that a rear seating position on a roller coaster can help people pass kidney stones more quickly.
It was demonstrated that, in a zoo, chimpanzees imitate humans about as often, and about as well, as humans imitate chimpanzees.
A team led by a psychologist discovered that abusing a virtual voodoo doll of their boss made employees feel better. If you have a supervisor who routinely subjects you to public ridicule, scapegoating, or other abusive behaviour, stabbing a voodoo doll representing your supervisor with pins can be cathartic.
It was documented that most people do not read the instruction manual when using complicated products. Since customers generally don’t read the guidebook, they never make full use of all the features.
🥇 MEDICAL EDUCATION
The Ig Nobel committee also gave out a Medical Education Prize this year to a Japanese gastroenterologist for an experiment in which he reviewed the comfort and efficiency of self-colonoscopy in the sitting position by performing a colonoscopy on himself while seated.
And finally, the Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a Spanish and Colombian team that tested whether shouting and swearing while driving resulted in more crashes. The result was that aggressive behaviour is not harmless, but associated with a higher rate of accidents (a major cause of death and injury worldwide).