Science Awards Of The Sillier Sort

46:23 minutes

Does pizza have a protective effect against cancer? What’s the physics behind the wombat’s unusual cubic-shaped droppings? And can dog-training clickers be used to help the medical education of orthopedic surgeons? 

These projects were among 10 that were recognized at this year’s 29th first annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremonies. The prizes, selected by the editors of the Annals of Improbable Research, were awarded in September at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. They salute work that “first makes you laugh, and then, makes you think.” 

See some snapshots from the ceremonies below!

a group of scientists on stage, one is dressed as a wombat and another is dressed up as a cubed wombat poop
2019 Ig Nobel physics prize winners. Credit: Alexey Eliseev
four women scientists on stage receiving an award from a man in a tall hat with england's flag on it
Karen Pryor and Theresa McKeon receive the medical education prize for creating a simple animal-training technique, called “clicker training,” to train surgeons to perform orthopedic surgery. Credit: Alexey Eliseev
The researchers who won the economics prize tested which country’s paper money is best at transmitting dangerous bacteria. Credit: Alexey Eliseev
a group of scientists from japan on stage winning an award
Recipients of the chemistry prize for estimating the total saliva volume produced per day by a typical five-year-old child. Credit: Alexey Eliseev
In physics, Patricia Yang, Alexander Lee, Miles Chan, Alynn Martin, Ashley Edwards, Scott Carver, and David Hu, studied how, and why, wombats make cube-shaped poo. Credit: Alex Ip
a coffee mug with a tooth brush, a cellphone case, a lotto ticket, and a used cigarette constructed as a trophy
This year’s Ig Nobel prize. Credit: Alexey Eliseev

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Segment Guests

Marc Abrahams

Marc Abrahams is the editor and co-founder of Annals of Improbable Research and the founder and master of ceremonies for the Ig Nobel Awards Ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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