Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

A Spanish TV peek at some Ig Nobel Prizes

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

TV3, in Spain, took this look (“IgNobel, riure amb la ciència”) at a few Ig Nobel Prize-winning achievements, and at a few other things:

Partially drunk people can appear more attractive

Monday, May 11th, 2015

There’s yet another twist in research news about drunkenness and the perception of beauty.

The 2013 Ig Nobel psychology prize was awarded to Laurent Bègue [FRANCE], Brad Bushman [USA, UK, the NETHERLANDS, POLAND], Oulmann Zerhouni [FRANCE], Baptiste Subra [FRANCE], and Medhi Ourabah [FRANCE], for confirming, by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive. (See: “‘Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder': People Who Think They Are Drunk Also Think They Are Attractive,”  British Journal of Psychology, epub May 15, 2012.)
Prof Munafo

Now, new research has identified a related phenomenon, a twist which could perhaps be described as ‘The Complementary Inverse Beer Goggles Effect’. A research team led by Professor Marcus Munafò MA(Oxon), MSc, PhD(Soton) who is Professor of Biological Psychology at the School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, UK, have attempted to find out whether drunken people might be rated as more attractive by others who are completely sober.

Their experimental research project discovered that although somewhat drunk people can indeed appear more attractive to others, the effect quite rapidly falls off if they drink much more. For those who wish to conduct their own research, note that the optimal dose for one to look one’s most attractive was found to be around 250 ml of wine (at 14% alcohol). See: Increased Facial Attractiveness Following Moderate, but not High, Alcohol Consumption (forthcoming in Alcohol and Alcoholism) Before embarking on any practical applications however, you might also want to check this 2012 paper: ‘The imbibing idiot bias: Consuming alcohol can be hazardous to your (perceived) intelligence’

Also see: How many drinks does it take you to feel drunk?

“Can’t get enough of the poo”

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

The University of the Watwatersrand writes, on its web site:

Can’t get enough of the poo
24 April 2015

“Tonight you will hear about small animals that play around in poo.”

With this, Professor Marcus Byrne started off his inaugural lecture delivered in the Senate Room at Wits University on Tuesday, 14 April 2015, following his promotion last year to Personal Professor in Zoology in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences.

Thirty years ago he encountered this enigmatic insect that would “entertain” him, and in turn let him to entertain many others, in the name of science: the dung beetle.

It’s all about the poo

Since he joined Wits in 1987 Byrne had used dung beetles effectively as a vehicle to show evolution at its best. “It is a particularly good vehicle because of its relationship with poo,” Byrne chuckled. “It simply loves its poo and cannot get enough of it.”

“There are over 800 species in South Africa, 2 000 in Africa and 6 000 in the world. And only about 10% roll dung!” Byrne said….

Science makes up for our flaws

As a child growing up in the UK with its “limited fauna”, Byrne’s love for science was sparked by watching the great science communicator, David Attenborough, on television. In his own right, Byrne is an exceptional science communicator. His TEDx talk has attracted over 900 000 hits and with his team was awarded the 2013 Ig Nobel Prize for Astronomy and Biology….

A look back at contagious yawning in tortoises

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

This 2011 BBC TV News report profiled Ig Nobel Prize winner Anna Wilkinson:


A Nobel prize may be the most sought after gong in the scientific world, but a lecturer from the University of Lincoln has picked up the next best thing.

Dr Anna Wilkinson has won an Ig Nobel prize, to honour achievements that first make people laugh and then make them think.

The award was given for her experiments into whether yawning among tortoises is contagious.

Anne-Marie Tasker reports.

Ig Nobel Prize winner Oppenheimer named the #1 business school professor

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Fortune magazine tells how an Ig Nobel Prize winner was named the top young business school professor:

The 10 top B-school professors under 40

Business school professors come in all stripes and colors. But the very best of the lot share a few common qualities: They are all supremely well educated, highly talented researchers, exceptional teachers, and, perhaps most important of all, they inspire students and their students inspire them.

With these qualities in mind, Poets&Quants has compiled its 2015 list of the very best business school professors under 40. Winning an Ig Nobel Prize is not enough to get a spot on this list. Neither is taking students to the Amazon. Or getting a class to show up wearing beer helmets. Or having your research featured on the John Oliver show. Or applying neuroscience to the negotiating process. But all of those things help….

Number one on the list is Danny Oppenheimer:


Danny Oppenheimer was awarded the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize for literature, for his report “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly” (published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 20, no. 2, March 2006, pp. 139-56).

BONUS: A new essay by Danny Oppenheimer, in Time magazine: “The problem’s not the NCAA. It’s players’ expectations of their peers