The 32nd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was held last night. These are prizes awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research for scientific and other breakthroughs that make people laugh, and then make them think. For example, a study on how eating ice cream helps a side effect of cancer treatment may seem odd, but it may well improve the lives of some folks. The development of a moose crash test dummy is funny but useful. A study of enemas depicted on ancient pottery is just plain fun. And while the idea that random luck has more to do with success than talent may be obvious to some of us, it's good to have a research paper handy in an argument.
Continue reading to see the complete 2022 winners list, with links to the research papers.
APPLIED CARDIOLOGY PRIZE [CZECH REPUBLIC, THE NETHERLANDS, UK, SWEDEN, ARUBA]
Eliska Prochazkova, Elio Sjak-Shie, Friederike Behrens, Daniel Lindh, and Mariska Kret, for seeking and finding evidence that when new romantic partners meet for the first time, and feel attracted to each other, their heart rates synchronize.
REFERENCE: “Physiological Synchrony is Associated with Attraction in a Blind Date Setting,” Eliska Prochazkova, Elio Sjak-Shie, Friederike Behrens, Daniel Lindh, and Mariska E. Kret, Nature Human Behaviour.
LITERATURE PRIZE [CANADA, USA, UK, AUSTRALIA]
Eric Martínez, Francis Mollica, and Edward Gibson, for analyzing what makes legal documents unnecessarily difficult to understand.
REFERENCE: “Poor Writing, Not Specialized Concepts, Drives Processing Difficulty in Legal Language,” Eric Martínez, Francis Mollica, and Edward Gibson, Cognition.
BIOLOGY PRIZE [BRAZIL, COLOMBIA]
Solimary García-Hernández and Glauco Machado, for studying whether and how constipation affects the mating prospects of scorpions.
REFERENCE: “Short- and Long-Term Effects of an Extreme Case of Autotomy: Does ‘Tail’ Loss and Subsequent Constipation Decrease the Locomotor Performance of Male and Female Scorpions?” Solimary García-Hernández and Glauco Machado, Integrative Zoology.
MEDICINE PRIZE [POLAND]
Marcin Jasiński, Martyna Maciejewska, Anna Brodziak, Michał Górka, Kamila Skwierawska, Wiesław Jędrzejczak, Agnieszka Tomaszewska, Grzegorz Basak, and Emilian Snarski, for showing that when patients undergo some forms of toxic chemotherapy, they suffer fewer harmful side effects when ice cream replaces one traditional component of the procedure.
REFERENCE: “Ice-Cream Used as Cryotherapy During High-Dose Melphalan Conditioning Reduces Oral Mucositis After Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation,” Marcin Jasiński, Martyna Maciejewska, Anna Brodziak, Michał Górka, Kamila Skwierawska, Wiesław W. Jędrzejczak, Agnieszka Tomaszewska, Grzegorz W. Basak, and Emilian Snarski, Scientific Reports.
ENGINEERING PRIZE [JAPAN]
Gen Matsuzaki, Kazuo Ohuchi, Masaru Uehara, Yoshiyuki Ueno, and Goro Imura, for trying to discover the most efficient way for people to use their fingers when turning a knob.
REFERENCE: “How to Use Fingers during Rotary Control of Columnar Knobs,” Gen Matsuzaki, Kazuo Ohuchi, Masaru Uehara, Yoshiyuki Ueno, and Goro Imura, Bulletin of Japanese Society for the Science of Design.
REFERENCE: “Experimental Studies on the Rotary Control of Columnar Knobs — The Number of Fingers used at the Time of starting Rotary Control,” Gen Matsuzaki, Goro Imura, and Maseru Uehara, Proceedings of the Third Asia Design Conference, 1998, pp. 37-40.
ART HISTORY PRIZE [THE NETHERLANDS, GUATAMALA, USA, AUSTRIA]
Peter de Smet and Nicholas Hellmuth, for their study “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Ritual Enema Scenes on Ancient Maya Pottery.”
REFERENCE: “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Ritual Enema Scenes on Ancient Maya Pottery,” Peter A.G.M. de Smet and Nicholas M. Hellmuth, Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
PHYSICS PRIZE [CHINA, UK, TURKEY, USA] [AWARDED JOINTLY TO TWO GROUPS]
Frank Fish, Zhi-Ming Yuan, Minglu Chen, Laibing Jia, Chunyan Ji, and Atilla Incecik, for trying to understand how ducklings manage to swim in formation.
REFERENCE: “Energy Conservation by Formation Swimming: Metabolic Evidence from Ducklings,” Frank E. Fish, in the book Mechanics and Physiology of Animal Swimming, 1994, pp. 193-204.
REFERENCE: “Wave-Riding and Wave-Passing by Ducklings in Formation Swimming,” Zhi-Ming Yuan, Minglu Chen, Laibing Jia, Chunyan Ji, and Atilla Incecik, Journal of Fluid Mechanics.
PEACE PRIZE [CHINA, HUNGARY, CANADA, THE NETHERLANDS, UK, ITALY, AUSTRALIA, SWITZERLAND, USA]
Junhui Wu, Szabolcs Számadó, Pat Barclay, Bianca Beersma, Terence Dores Cruz, Sergio Lo Iacono, Annika Nieper, Kim Peters, Wojtek Przepiorka, Leo Tiokhin and Paul Van Lange, for developing an algorithm to help gossipers decide when to tell the truth and when to lie.
REFERENCE: “Honesty and Dishonesty in Gossip Strategies: A Fitness Interdependence Analysis,” Junhui Wu, Szabolcs Számadó, Pat Barclay, Bianca Beersma, Terence D. Dores Cruz, Sergio Lo Iacono, Annika S. Nieper, Kim Peters, Wojtek Przepiorka, Leo Tiokhin and Paul A.M. Van Lange, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
ECONOMICS PRIZE [ITALY]
Alessandro Pluchino, Alessio Emanuele Biondo, and Andrea Rapisarda, for explaining, mathematically, why success most often goes not to the most talented people, but instead to the luckiest.
REFERENCE: “Talent vs. Luck: The Role of Randomness in Success and Failure,” Alessandro Pluchino, Alessio Emanuele Biondo, and Andrea Rapisarda, Advances in Complex Systems, vol. 21, nos. 3 and 4, 2018.
Very honored to have received a second Ig Nobel prize, this year for Economics, together with Alessandro Pluchino and Alessio Emanuele Biondo for our work on Talent vs Luck ! #DFA #Unict #IgNobel pic.twitter.com/1WaAfLBBs0— Andrea Rapisarda (@A_Rapis) September 16, 2022
[NOTE: This is the second Ig Nobel Prize awarded to Alessandro Pluchino and Andrea Rapisarda. The 2010 Ig Nobel Prize for Management was awarded to Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.]
SAFETY ENGINEERING PRIZE [SWEDEN]
Magnus Gens, for developing a moose crash test dummy.
REFERENCE: “Moose Crash Test Dummy,” Magnus Gens, Master’s thesis at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, published by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, 2001.