Ig Nobel Prize winners include scientists who cleared blocked noses with sex
The winners of 2021’s Ig Nobel Prizes were announced on Thursday night, honouring scientists for their work in weird, funny, but ultimately intriguing science. One of the funniest awards on the scientific calendar, the annual Ig Nobel Prizes recognise “achievements that first make people laugh then make them think.” And then probably make them laugh again.
Last year’s winners included Indian and Pakistani diplomats who ding-dong ditched each other in the middle of the night (Peace Prize), scientists who tested knives made of human feces (Materials Science Prize), and various world leaders who demonstrated that politicians can have a greater impact on health than doctors (Medical Education Prize).
This year the 31st First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony (not a typo) was again held via live stream due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though that definitely didn’t stop scientists from getting silly. In addition to the awards, the stream featured a series of 24/7 lectures wherein speakers had 27 seconds then seven words to convey their thoughts on a topic. There was also a bridge-themed “mini-opera,” because scientists like singing too.
But of course, the most important part of the night were the prize announcements. The winners of 2021’s Ig Nobel Prizes are:
Biology Prize: Susanne Schötz, for her work analysing communication between humans and cats. Schötz has spent years exploring the hypothesis that cats change their vocalisations somewhat deliberately to communicate different information in different situations.