Donate to the Igs

Archive for 'Research News'

An Extraordinary Scientist Who Delights in the Mundane

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

Ig Nobel Prize winner L. Mahadevan is profiled, by Steve Nadis, in Quanta magazine:

A Scientist Who Delights in the Mundane

Mahadevan uses mathematics and physics to explore commonplace phenomena, showing that many of the objects and behaviors we take for granted, and consequently give little thought to, are quite extraordinary upon closer examination… He even took on a process often dismissed as the dullest thing imaginable in his essay “Watching Paint Dry,” …

I’m not the kind of person who thinks some problems are bigger than others. In my mind, there is no hierarchy. What is frivolous and what is important seems like an irrelevant question. After all, nature does not care! …

I work on things that everyone can see and experience, but few care to think about deeply. As for the second question, does an artist, musician or writer think about applications? Why does science have to do so? It is human to be curious. That is enough, isn’t it? 

But I should add that I’m not at all snooty about working on useful or practical things. I have patents on a few devices and algorithms, and just this year we developed potential protocols for mitigating the extreme costs of pandemics.

On the other hand, I also like doing things for the sheer fun of it, like, for instance, designing a fair three-sided coin in order to decide a three-way bet….

The 2007 Ig Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to L. Mahadevan of Harvard University, USA, and Enrique Cerda Villablanca of Universidad de Santiago de Chile, for studying how sheets become wrinkled.

That research is documented in these studies:

Why did we vibrate earthworms?

Friday, October 23rd, 2020

The winners of the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize for physics wrote about their work, in The Conversation: “We vibrated earthworms to learn about safely connecting human brains to computers

Research about con men

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

A selection of research about con men. features in the special Liars & Con Men issue of the magazine (vol. 26, no. 5).

Lying in Politics and Business [research studies]

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

The special Liars & Con Men issue of the magazine (vol. 26, no. 5) includes a selection of research about lying in politics and business.

Food for Thoughtful Energy: Sandwich as a Triboelectric Nanogenerator

Friday, October 16th, 2020

People eat sandwiches to give themselves energy. A new study explains how to get electricity from those sandwiches without going to the bother of eating them.

The study is: “Sandwich as a Triboelectric Nanogenerator,” Jingyi Jiao, Qixin Lu, Zhonglin Wang, Yong Qin, and Xia Cao, Nano Energy, vol. 79, no. 105411, September 2020. The authors, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Georgia Tech, and other institutions, report:

“For the past few years, triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) have been demonstrated as an unprecedented method as self-powered, power generation and blue energy. The materials and electrodes used to fabricate TENGs are usually polymer materials and metals. The article demonstrates a new TENG that use entirely bio- and environmental degradable materials. The basic ingredients of the TENG are wheat bread and vegetable leaves for fabricating a sandwich structured TENG (S-TENG). The maximum voltage and current of this S-TENG can reach about 15 V and 3 μA, respectively, when it works in the single electrode mode under the optimal conditions.”

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!