Catching scorpions, love at first sight inspire Egg Nobles

Boston The sex lives of constipated scorpions, cute ducks with an innate sense of physics, and life-size rubber moose may not seem to have much in common, but they all inspired this year’s Ig Nobels, the science comedy award. Achievement.

The 32nd annual Nobel Prize Gala took place on Thursday less than a month before the Nobel Prizes were announced, and for the third year in a row had a pre-recorded online relationship. Annals of the Journal of Impossible Research website.

The winners, who were honored in 10 categories, also included scientists who found that when people on a date are attracted to each other, their heart rates sync up, and researchers who looked at why legal documents are so confusing, even to the lawyers themselves.

Although the ceremony was pre-recorded, it retained much of the fun of the live event that usually takes place at Harvard.

As was the tradition of the Ig Nobel, Nobel laureates handed out prizes, using a few video tricks: Nobel laureates handed the prize off-screen, while the winners brought home a prize sent and assembled themselves. Opinion.

The winners also received an almost worthless Zimbabwean bill of $10 trillion.

Ig-nited curiosity? Learn more about some of the winners:

Get your ducks in a row

“Science is fun,” Frank Fish, a professor of biology at West Chester University in Pennsylvania who engaged in Ig Nobel physicists to study why ducklings follow their single mothers, said my kind of motto is you don’t practice science if you aren’t having fun. .

It’s about energy conservation: Ducklings are recruiting, he said, just like regular cars, cyclists and race runners do.

“It all has to do with the flow going on behind that pioneer organism and the way moving in the formation can actually be an active benefit,” said the aptly named fish, whose specialty studies how animals swim.

He shared the prize with researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, who found that ducklings actually skated in their mother’s heels.

This simultaneous feeling

Eliska Prochazkova’s personal experiences inspired her dating search that earned her and her fellow cardiologist Ig Nobel.

She had no problems finding her obvious perfect match on dating apps, but she often found that there was no spark when they met face to face.

So she put people on blind dates in real social settings, measured their physiological reactions and found that the heart rates of people who are attracted to each other out of sync.

Is her work evidence of “love at first sight”?

“It really depends on how you define love,” Prochazkova, a researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands, said in an email. “What we found in our research was that people were able to quickly determine if they wanted to date their partner. Within the first two seconds of dating, The participants came up with a very complex idea about the human sitting in front of them.”

harsh bite

Solimary García-Hernández and Glauco Machado of the University of São Paulo in Brazil have won biologists Ig Nobel to study whether constipation damages a scorpion’s sexuality.

Scorpions can separate a part of their body to escape a predator – a process called self-cutting. But when they lose their tails, they also lose the last part of their digestive system, leading to constipation — and eventually death, they wrote in the journal Integral Zoology.

“Long-term decline in motor performance of self-injured males may impair mate search,” they wrote.

That’s a mouse, stupid

Magnus Gers has been awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Safety Engineering for making a moose “crash test dummy” for his master’s thesis at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, published by the Swedish National Institute for Road and Transport Research.

Frequent vehicle crashes by moose on Sweden’s highways often result in injuries and deaths to both humans and animals, Gers said in an email. However, car manufacturers rarely include animal collisions in their safety tests.

He said, “I think this is a wonderful and still very unexplored area that deserves all the attention it can get. This topic is mystical, life-threatening and more relevant than ever.”

Can you speak legal?

Anyone who has read the Terms of Service Agreement knows that legal documents can be completely incomprehensible.

This frustrated Eric Martinez, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences who also holds a law degree from Harvard University.

He, Frances Mollica and Edward Gibson shared the Ig Nobel literature to analyze what makes legal documents unnecessarily difficult to understand, research that appeared in the journal Cognition.

In the end, he said, “there is some kind of hope that lawyers will think a little more with the reader in mind.” “Clarity benefits not only the layman, but the lawyers as well.”

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