Each year, the most prestigious works in science, literature, and peace are rewarded with a Nobel Price. At the same time, the not-so-prestigious works in science are also "rewarded" during the Ig Nobel Ceremony at Harvard University. Presided by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine, the 2013 batch, like previous years, had its host of serious (albeit a little weird) awards, although one of the "winners" thought his research on cows was quite serious. But he rejoices at anything that will prompt interest in science.
Here are this year's 10 "winners," who received their prizes from the hands of real Nobel laureates like Eric Maskin (Economics, 2007) and Roy Glauber (Chemistry, 2005).
1. The La Traviata Factor
The Ig Nobel for Medicine was given to a group of Chinese and Japanese scientists, who discovered that mice with a heart transplant survived longer if they listened to opera, specifically Mozart or Verdi's La Traviata.
2. Beauty is in the Eye Of the Beer Holder
The Ig Nobel for Psychology was given to a multinational team that confirmed what people have suspected for years: People who are drunk tend to think that they are more attractive than they really are.
3. Stars Guide Insects Too
The Ig Nobel for Astronomy and Biology was awarded to a team of scientists who found that dung beetles use the Milky Way to navigate.
4. Hijacking-Proof Planes
The Ig Nobel for Safety Engineering was posthumously given to Gustavo Pizzo, who invented a system that would drop hijackers and their bombs to the ground with a parachute so the police would arrest them on the ground. It was even patented in 1972.
5. Floating on Water
A team of Italian scientists received the Ig Nobel for Physics for their research showing that people can run on the surface of a pond ... as long as it's on the moon or another place with low gravity.
6. Cry Me a River
Onions make people cry, we all know that. But the process by which it happens is very complex, as the Japanese scientists who won the Ig Nobel for Chemistry found out. Who knows, maybe a tearless onion is on the way
7. Digestible Bones
The Ig Nobel for Archeology was given to a Canada-U.S. duo for finding that humans can digest, even without chewing, the bones of dead mammals like shrews.
8. The Cow-Guessing Game
A Scottish scientist was awarded the Ig Nobel for Probability for his research on cow movements. More specifically, he found out that the longer a cow lies down, the more likely it is that the bovine will stand up soon. But finding out when a standing cow will lie down is hard to predict.
9. The Obama Award
The Ig Nobel for Peace is about as real as the genuine Nobel Prize for Peace. This year, it was awarded to the Belarusian president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, for forbidding his people to clap their hands, and to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a man on such offense ... even though he only had one arm.
10. Lorena Bobbit's Thai Relatives
Finally, the Ig Nobel for Public Health was given to a team of Thai scientists who found ways to re-attach a man's penis after it was severed by his wife. However, the piece must be whole; in her anger, the wife usually throws it under the house (usually elevated over the water) to feed it to the ducks.