Ig Nobel Winner: Scientists Who Ate a Parboiled Shrew

Yes, it's once again the 'weirdest night in science'

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 13, 2013 6:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – The 23rd Ig Nobel Awards—a spoof on the only slightly more prestigious Nobel Prizes—were held at Harvard last night, in what Slate describes as "the weirdest night in science." Legit scientific research is honored for its ability to make people laugh, the BBC reports, and the 10 winners (who are handed their prizes by a real-deal Nobel laureate) get a minute to speak, then are booed off stage by an 8-year-old girl—seriously. Among this year's winners:

  • The Medicine prize went to Japanese scientists who figured out that mice live longer than average (27 days versus seven) after a heart transplant if they listen to opera music, reports the Guardian.
  • Physics: The team to accept this award put their brains together and found that it's totally possible for a person to run across a pond—on the moon.

  • Safety Engineering: The late Gustano Pizzo finally got recognition for his 1972 anti-hijacking system, which proposed hijackers be dropped through a plane's trap doors into a package that would drop to the ground (with parachute, of course), where the police would be waiting.
  • Archaeology: Judges may have simply pitied the researchers who took home this prize. They swallowed a parboiled dead shrew whole, then checked out their own, erm, excretions to see which bones dissolved in the human digestive tract, LiveScience explains.
  • There was probably no clapping for this award: Belarus' president and state police took home the Peace Prize for making public applause illegal and arresting a one-armed man for doing it anyway.
  • And oh, the Public Health award ... this one involves a duck-gnawed penis. A Thai team wrote about several surgical techniques for amputated penises, none of which should be used on one that's been chomped by a duck, they said, per the BBC.
Click for the full list of winners, including a team that studied a dung beetle dance.

A winner holds an Ig Nobel Prize during the annual Ig Nobel prize ceremony at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.
A winner holds an Ig Nobel Prize during the annual Ig Nobel prize ceremony at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.   (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
A team celebrates winning the Biology/Astronomy Prize during the annual Ig Nobel prize ceremony at Harvard University Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.
A team celebrates winning the Biology/Astronomy Prize during the annual Ig Nobel prize ceremony at Harvard University Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.   (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Master of ceremonies Marc Abrahams, left, introduces the winners of the Medicine Prize at Harvard University Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.
Master of ceremonies Marc Abrahams, left, introduces the winners of the Medicine Prize at Harvard University Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.   (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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