Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

Japan-US diplomacy: Kissing

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

kimataKissing is among the subtle methods great nations use to fluff their relations. Here’s a fresh example — tweets in two languages by Caroline Kennedy, the American ambassador to Japan, saluting Dr. Hajime Kimata, who this week was awarded a 2015 Ig Nobel prize.

The tweets:

ambassador's tweets - Ig Nobel

The prize:

The 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded jointly to two groups: Hajime Kimata [JAPAN, CHINA]; and to Jaroslava Durdiaková [SLOVAKIA, US, UK], Peter Celec [SLOVAKIA, GERMANY], Natália Kamodyová, Tatiana Sedláčková, Gabriela Repiská, Barbara Sviežená, and Gabriel Minárik [SLOVAKIA], for experiments to study the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing (and other intimate, interpersonal activities).

REFERENCES for the prize-winning achievements: “Kissing Reduces Allergic Skin Wheal Responses and Plasma Neurotrophin Levels,” Hajime Kimata, Physiology and Behavior, vol. 80, nos. 2-3, November 2003, pp. 395-8. / “Reduction of Allergic Skin Weal Responses by Sexual Intercourse in Allergic Patients,” Hajime Kimata, Sexual and Relationship Therapy, vol 19, no. 2, May 2004, pp. 151-4. / “Kissing Selectively Decreases Allergen-Specific IgE Production in Atopic Patients,” Hajime Kimata, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, vol. 60, 2006, pp. 545– 547. / “Prevalence and Persistence of Male DNA Identified in Mixed Saliva Samples After Intense Kissing,” Natália Kamodyová, Jaroslava Durdiaková, Peter Celec, Tatiana Sedláčková, Gabriela Repiská, Barbara Sviežená, and Gabriel Minárik, Forensic Science International Genetics, vol. 7, no. 1, January 2013, pp. 124–8.

Question: Will J. Liam Wasley, the American ambassador to Slovakia, tweet congratulations to the Slovakian co-winners of this prize?

RELATED: Australian government lauds Ig Nobel winner Colin Raston for throwing eggs at a problem:

ScienceGovAuSep 18, 2:20am

Congrats Colin Raston @IgNobel prize winner finding new weapon in fight against cancer w support from

RELATED: Dutch government praises Ig Nobel winner Mark Dingemanse for… Huh?: “Bussemaker prijst ‘huh-wetenschappers’

Creatures that present poo to their girlfriends as a gift

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

If you are in Johannesburg this week, you can hear details about the ways a male is judged by the size of his balls, if that male is a dung beetle.

It is not uncommon for male dung beetles to obtain sexual favors from females by presenting them with a ball of crap. But of course males cannot be entirely trusted and might pretend that they have deposited a big juicy piece of dung underground, only for the potential girlfriend to discover that this was a trick.

On 22 September 2015, in Johannesburg, South Africa Professor Marcus Byrne of the University of the Witwatersrand who is part of the team that won the 2013 Ig Nobel Prize for Biology and Astronomy for discovering that when dung beetles get lost they can navigate their way home by looking at the Milky Way, will give a talk titled “You can roll it, but I wouldn’t smoke it“.

BONUS. Prof Marcus Byrne is regarded as one of the sexiest scientists alive. In case you are unable to attend the evening of science and cocktails on the 22nd, you can read more about the shitty world of dung beetles here.

Saturday: The Ig Informal Lectures, at MIT

Friday, September 18th, 2015

The Ig Informal Lectures
Saturday, Sep 19, 2015, 1:00 pm
MIT, building 10, room 250


A half-afternoon of improbably funny, informative, informal, brief public lectures and demonstrations:

  • The new, 2015 Ig Nobel Prize winners will attempt to explain what they did, and why they did it
  • Special appearance by past Ig Nobel Prize winners — including a special performance by Dr. Nakamats.
  • The Ig Nobel Prize winners will be available for you to talk with, both before and after the lectures

The Ig informal Lectures are a free event, organized in cooperation with the MIT Press Bookstore. But seating is limited, so we suggest you arrive a bit early.


(What happens at the Ig Informal Lectures? Here’s a spectator’s report from last year, 2013.)

Announcing the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize winners

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

The 2015 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded to the winners tonight in a gala ceremony at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, with a sold-out audience of 1100 in the theatre, and many more watching the live webcast.

The ten new winners and their achievements are now included in the list of all Ig Nobel Prize winners. Here’s recorded video of the ceremony:

Here’s a photo of the Physics Prize acceptance speech being terminated at the persistent request of an eight-year-old girl (photo by Mike Benveniste / Improbable Research):

2015-IgNobel ceremony-MIke-Benveniste photo

Here’s video of the Biology Prize-winning experiment:

Ig Nobel — Thursday night!

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

The Twenty-Fifth 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony happens
Thursday, September 17, 2015, at 6:00 pm (US eastern time).

2015_IgPosterWatch the live webcast


Simultaneously follow the action on Twitter:

We will be live-tweeting at @ImprobResearch

Lots of other people (maybe including you?) will be live tweeting with hashtag #IgNobel

Please spread the word!

Ps. Tickets to physically attend the ceremony are sold out. But… a few tickets might become available shortly before the ceremony. If you’re willing to take a chance on that, check the Harvard Box Office web site, or, late in the afternoon, come to the ticket window at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre.

Download your own copy of IgBill, the printed program that is handed out to the audience members in Sanders Theatre. It contains a who’s who, and also the complete libretto to “The Best Life” — the new mini-opera that will be part of the ceremony: