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AND THE WINNER ISâŠThey didnât get as much press as the Nobel Prizes, but 10 Ig Nobel Prize winners were also named recently. The Igs honor ââŠachievements that make people laugh, then think. Good achievements can also be odd, funny, and even absurd, so can bad achievements. A lot of good science gets attacked because of its absurdity. A lot of bad science gets revered despite its absurdity.â
This yearâs winners included scholars of scorpion constipation, duckling swimming, ice cream cryogenics, romantic heart rate synchronization and other scintillating scientific topics. For example,
Â· The Biology Prize went to Solimary GarcĂa-HernĂĄndez and Glauco Machado for âShort- and Long-Term Effects of an Extreme Case of Autotomy: Does âTailâ Loss and Subsequent Constipation Decrease the Locomotor Performance of Male and Female Scorpionsâ
To escape predation, some types of scorpions shed their tails, losing a portion of their digestive tracts. This causes constipation. GarcĂa-HernĂĄndez and Machadoâs research investigated whether scorpionsâ ability to move was affected by the change. They found that running speed was unaffected over the short-term. However, over the longer-term, tail loss and constipation hurt the running speed of males but not females.
Â· The Economics Prize went to Alessandro Pluchino, Alessio Emanuele Biondo, and Andrea Rapisarda for âTalent vs. Luck: The Role of Randomness in Success and Failure.â
Western culture often asserts that success is the result of talent, intelligence, hard work, commitment and other personal traits. The research found that luck plays an outsized role. The researchers used mathematics to explain âwhy success most often goes not to the most talented people, but instead to the luckiest.â This was the second Ig for Pluchino and Rapisarda, whose previous win was for a paper explaining that promoting people at random could make organizations more efficient.
Â· The Peace Prize went to Junhui Wu, Szabolcs SzĂĄmadĂł, and their co-authors for âHonesty and Dishonesty in Gossip Strategies: A Fitness Interdependence Analysis.â
The researchers investigated gossip and developed a mathematical model for honest and dishonest gossip. During their acceptance speech, the researchers explained, ââŠgossiping people can be honest or dishonest, depending on how much they value the targets and recipients of gossip.â
Each of the Ig Nobel winners received a $10 trillion Zimbabwean banknote worth about far less than one trillion dollars. The awards were presented by actual Nobel Prize winners.
Weekly Focus â Think About It
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity."
âAmelia Earhart, aviator