On Sept. 12, the 2013 Ig Nobel prizes were awarded to their recipients at a ceremony at Harvard University. The prizes are a parody of the Nobel prizes, and are given for unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. The awards are sometimes a thinly veiled criticism of frivolous experiments or dubious accomplishments. The prizes are awarded by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, and there are ten winners every year. Each winner this year will receive a $Z 10 trillion bill, the printing of which was ordered by Gideon Gano, who won the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize in Mathematics “for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers by having his bank print notes with denominations ranging from one cent to one hundred trillion dollars.” This year's winners are:
Archaeology: Brian Crandall [USA] and Peter Stahl [Canada/USA], for parboiling a dead shrew, and then swallowing the shrew without chewing, and then carefully examining everything excreted during subsequent days — all so they could see which bones would dissolve inside the human digestive system, and which bones would not.
Joint prize in Astronomy and Biology: Marie Dacke [Sweden/Australia], Emily Baird [Sweden/Australia/Germany], Marcus Byrne [South Africa/UK], Clarke Scholtz [South Africa], and Eric Warrant [Sweden/Australia/Germany], for discovering that when dung beetles get lost, they can navigate their way home by looking at the Milky Way.
Chemistry: Shinsuke Imai [Japan], Nobuaki Tsuge [Japan], Muneaki Tomotake [Japan], Yoshiaki Nagatome [Japan], Toshiyuki Nagata [Japan/Germany], and Hidehiko Kumgai [Japan], for discovering that the biochemical process by which onions make people cry is even more complicated than scientists previously realized.
Medicine: Masateru Uchiyama [Japan], Xiangyuan Jin [China/Japan], Qi Zhang [Japan], Toshihito Hirai [Japan], Atsushi Amano [Japan], Hisashi Bashuda [Japan] and Masanori Niimi [Japan/UK], for assessing the effect of listening to opera, on heart transplant patients who are mice.
Peace: Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public, AND to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding.
Physics: Alberto Minetti [Italy/UK/Denmark/Switzerland], Yuri Ivanenko [Italy/Russia/France], Germana Cappellini [Italy], Nadia Dominici [Italy/Switzerland], and Francesco Lacquaniti [Italy], for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if those people and that pond were on the moon.
Probability: Bert Tolkamp [UK/Netherlands], Marie Haskell [UK], Fritha Langford [UK/Canada], David Roberts [UK], and Colin Morgan [UK], for making two related discoveries: First, that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and Second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.
Psychology: Laurent Bègue [France], Brad Bushman [USA/UK/Netherlands/Poland], Oulmann Zerhouni [France], Baptiste Subra [France], and Medhi Ourabah [France], for confirming, by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.
Public Health: Kasian Bhanganada [Thailand], Tu Chayavatana [Thailand], Chumporn Pongnumkul [Thailand], Anunt Tonmukayakul [Thailand], Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn [Thailand], Krit Komaratal [Thailand], and Henry Wilde [Thailand], for the medical techniques described in their report "Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam" — techniques which they recommend, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck.
Safety Engineering: The late Gustano Pizzo [USA], for inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers — the system drops a hijacker through trap doors, seals him into a package, then drops the encapsulated hijacker through the airplane's specially-installed bomb bay doors, whence he parachutes to earth, where police, having been alerted by radio, await his arrival.