Ig Nobel Prizes Honor Self-Colonoscopies and Kidney Stone-Dislodging Roller Coasters
Not all science awards are reserved for discoveries that revolutionize their fields. As the Ig Nobel Prize recognizes, sometimes a largely pointless, but wildly creative, study is just as worthy of accolades. On September 13, the Ig Nobel Prize continued its tradition of honoring achievements "that make people laugh, and then think" with its 28th annual ceremony.
The Ig Nobel Prize recognizes work across a variety of fields. This year, the medicine prize was awarded to Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger for their investigation of whether or not riding a roller coaster can dislodge a kidney stone. The answer: It can, at least if you're riding in the back car of the Big Thunder Mountain coaster at Walt Disney World. Other notable winners include a study detailing a self-administered colonoscopy and one that asks if using a voodoo doll of your boss is an effective way to manage workplace aggression (it is).
You can check out the full list of 2018 Ig Nobel Prize recipients below.
"For using roller coaster rides to try to hasten the passage of kidney stones."
Winners: Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger
Study: "Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster," published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association
"For collecting evidence, in a zoo, that chimpanzees imitate humans about as often, and about as well, as humans imitate chimpanzees."
Winners: Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, and Elainie Madsen
Study: "Spontaneous Cross-Species Imitation in Interaction Between Chimpanzees and Zoo Visitors," published in Primates
"For demonstrating that wine experts can reliably identify, by smell, the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine."
Winners: Paul Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Erika Wallin, Erik Hedenstrom, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Marie Bengtsson, Volker Jorger, and Peter Witzgall
Study: "The Scent of the Fly," published in bioRxiv
"For measuring the degree to which human saliva is a good cleaning agent for dirty surfaces."
Winners: Paula Romão, Adília Alarcão and the late César Viana
Study: "Human Saliva as a Cleaning Agent for Dirty Surfaces," published in Studies in Conservation
"For the medical report 'Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy.'"
Winner: Akira Horiuchi
Study: "Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy by Using a Small-Caliber, Variable-Stiffness Colonoscope," published in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
"For documenting that most people who use complicated products do not read the instruction manual."
Winners: Thea Blackler, Rafael Gomez, Vesna Popovic and M. Helen Thompson
Study: "Life Is Too Short to RTFM: How Users Relate to Documentation and Excess Features in Consumer Products," published in Interacting With Computers
"For calculating that the caloric intake from a human-cannibalism diet is significantly lower than the caloric intake from most other traditional meat diets."
Winner: James Cole
Study: "Assessing the Calorific Significance of Episodes of Human Cannibalism in the Paleolithic," published in Scientific Reports
"For measuring the frequency, motivation, and effects of shouting and cursing while driving an automobile."
Winners: Francisco Alonso, Cristina Esteban, Andrea Serge, Maria-Luisa Ballestar, Jaime Sanmartín, Constanza Calatayud, and Beatriz Alamar
Study: "Shouting and Cursing While Driving: Frequency, Reasons, Perceived Risk and Punishment," published in the Journal of Sociology and Anthropology
"For using postage stamps to test whether the male sexual organ is functioning properly."
Winners: John Barry, Bruce Blank, and Michel Boileau
Study: "Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps," published in Urology
"For investigating whether it is effective for employees to use voodoo dolls to retaliate against abusive bosses."
Winners: Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa Keeping
Study: "Righting a Wrong: Retaliation on a Voodoo Doll Symbolizing an Abusive Supervisor Restores Justice," published in The Leadership Quarterly