As the Nobel Assembly dishes out science’s most prestigious award this week, starting yesterday with a three-way split for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the parody Ig Nobel committee bestowed honors on the bizarre, trivial, and humorous in research. Among this year’s winners are US and Australian researchers that found having to pee impaired short-term memory as much as going a full-day without sleep.
Luckily, it does have an upside: Dutch researchers were also honored for their research, which found that a full bladder made study subjects better able to delay gratification for a bigger payoff. In essence, once people are already holding one urge in check, they have an easier time inhibiting other desires.
Other winners include: researchers who found in tortoises, unlike humans, yawning isn’t contagious, and a group of Australians for their 1983 study showing that beer goggles aren’t just for humans: frisky beetles were turned on by the shape and color of beer bottles and tried to mate with them, ScienceNOW reported. The awards also honored research on a wasabi-based fire alarm to alert sleeping deaf people.
Finally, a series of doomsday prophets were honored for erroneously predicting that the world would end in 1954, 1982, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1999, and 2011.