The science you didn’t need: these are the most absurd investigations of the year

Every year hundreds of studies are published on hundreds of things. Science, although with handicaps, does not stop searching, investigating, observing to bring answers to small and large questions. Nevertheless, In the meantime, there is also some other text that, rather, solves very small questions or, directly, does not solve anything. There are so many that there are prizes for the most absurd scientific studies. And these are the results for 2021.

The Ig Nobel recognize the effort of the scientific community, but the effort to test things that are close to absurdity. Unnecessary questions that no one has ever askedNot because they have gone unnoticed, but because you don’t have to wonder about them. This last year, the ceremony has shared the most curious investigations.

Seagulls know when children eat their snack at recess


It is about awards created by the scientific humor magazine ‘Annals of Improbable Research‘. Yes, there is such a magazine, something that you would not have asked yourself either, and although all its content is joking, the research it recognizes is not. There they go:

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

The first and one of the highlights is the research carried out by Robin Radcliffe and his team of experts from Cornell University. These researchers hung 12 rhinos upside down for 10 minutes to find out if the health of these animals can be compromised when they dangle by their legs under a helicopter. Because what couldn’t happen when hanging a rhino upside down in a helicopter? In addition to meaning, it also seems to be lacking in ethics.

Although there would be an argument at the bottom of all this, and it is that they wanted to test if this is the best way to transport rhinos, instead of just moving them down or sideways. “When I heard about the Ig Nobel Prize, I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing. But I think for us it’s about that message, that ‘it makes you laugh and then think’ “Radcliffe declared after winning his award.

Photo: Source: NASA / JPL-Caltech
A giant monster sneaks into an image from NASA’s Spitzer telescope


For its part, the Biology Prize went to Susanne Schötz, for analyze variations of purrs, murmurs, meows, grunts, moans, chatters, trills, squeaks, chirps, hisses, howls, and other modes of communication between cats and humans. Although this doesn’t tell us anything, it just sounds too cute.

Chewing gum bacteria

The Economics Prize went directly to Pavlo Blavatskyy, for discover that the obesity of politicians in a country can be a good indicator of corruption that exists in that nation.

There is also an Ecology Prize. This has been for Leila Satari and her colleagues, for using genetic analysis to identify the different species of bacteria that live in gum discarded and that end up stuck on the sidewalks of various countries.

Photo: The study includes a survey of 3,300 people (Unsplash)
Pets and owners on a diet? A new study reveals that they do it together

The confidential

Of course, you could not miss the Medicine Award that stole the applause for Olcay Cem Bulut and his team of researchers, for showing that lOrgasms can be as effective as decongestant medications and thus improve nasal breathing.

An analysis of the unexpected cinema

And as for the Chemistry award, it came directly to Jörg Wicker and his team, for chemically analyzing the air that circulates inside movie theaters, and test whether smells produced by an audience reliably indicate levels of violence, sex, antisocial behavior, drug use, and bad language in the movie they’re watching.

As is customary, the Ig Nobel they were awarded for real Nobel prizes, among them Frances Arnold (chemistry, 2018), Carl Weiman (physics, 2001) and Eric Maskin (economics, 2007).

The winners got a paper trophy that they had to assemble themselves from a PDF print and a cash prize in the form of a fake Zimbabwean $ 10 trillion banknote.

Be careful: the Ig Nobel prizes are not a joke, just a joke. Its creators maintain that they just pretend to be a razzie-style offenseRather, they are prizes for great research that “should first make you laugh but then make you think.”

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The science you didn’t need: these are the most absurd investigations of the year