A denture-friction scientist analyses the banana-skin paper

Maria Pettersson, a friction scientist at the Ångström Laboratory at Uppsala University, who is professionally focusing on dentures these days, discusses the Ig Nobel physics prize-winning study that measured the slipperiness of a banana peel. You can listen to the discussion on Sverige Radio [P4]. The discussion is in Swedish.

This action photo shows a moment in that discussion:


The 2014 Ig Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to Kiyoshi Mabuchi, Kensei Tanaka, Daichi Uchijima and Rina Sakai, for measuring the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin, and between a banana skin and the floor, when a person steps on a banana skin that’s on the floor. They documented their work, in the paper “Frictional Coefficient under Banana Skin,” Kiyoshi Mabuchi, Kensei Tanaka, Daichi Uchijima and Rina Sakai, Tribology Online 7, no. 3, 2012, pp. 147-151.

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The same radio program took a look back at the study that won the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize for medicine. That prize was awarded to Eleanor Maguire, David Gadian, Ingrid Johnsrude, Catriona Good, John Ashburner, Richard Frackowiak, and Christopher Frith of University College London, for presenting evidence that the brains of London taxi drivers are more highly developed than those of their fellow citizens. The paper is: “Navigation-Related Structural Change In the Hippocampi of Taxi Drivers,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 97, no. 8, April 11, 2000, pp. 4398-403. Also see their subsequent publications.

The radio program explains (also in Swedish, of course) how that tax-driver research relates to the research that led to the 2014 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.

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