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Who are the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize winners?

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From a new medical condition to narcissists and contract killers here is our roundup of the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize winners.

Celebrating research that first makes you laugh and then makes you think, the Ig Nobel Prizes are the fun younger brother of the Nobel Prize. Here is our list of this year’s winners.

Medical questions

This year the Nobel Prize in Medicine Ig was awarded by Frances Arnold and awarded to Nienke Vulink, Damiaan Denys and Arnoud van Loon from the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) for diagnosing a new medical condition. Misophony, who is distressed to hear others chew. The team proposes that this be classified as a discreet psychiatric disorder and warrants further research.

For the Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology, the prize went to Miranda Giacomin and Nicholas Rule (University of Toronto, IL, Canada) for revealing that we can judge the narcissism of a person’s eyebrows. Why? The ability to identify dark personality traits with zero knowledge offers particular value in avoiding exploitation and manipulation, the authors note. This research will help increase understanding of the general processes involved in forming impressions and help better understand when and why people approach or avoid specific individuals.

Ig Nobel Prize for medical education highlighted the impact of politics on the COVID-19 pandemic politicians Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil), Boris Johnson (UK), Narendra Modi (India), Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador (Mexico), Alexander Lukashenko (Belarus), Donald Trump (United States), Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey), Vladimir Poutine (Russia) and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow (Turkmenistan) received the award for using the COVID-19 viral pandemic to teach the world that politicians can have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors can.


Ig Nobel Prize

The 2019 Ig Nobel Prize winners Celebrating the weird, wacky and unusual side of science, the Ig Nobel Prize is the jokey little brother of the highly prestigious Nobel Prize. Aiming to honor research that not only makes you laugh but also makes you think, the awards have been running since 1991 and highlight the fun side of scientific research.


Earthworms, alligators, droppings and paws

The Ig Nobel Prize in Physics went to a team that determined what happens to the form of a living earthworm when it is vibrated to high frequency research which is relevant to neuroscience.

Meanwhile, the Ig Nobel Prize for acoustics went to a team that gave helium to an alligator, in order to understand their communication.

The Ig Nobel Prize for Entomology was awarded to a team which demonstrated that entomologists are often afraid of spiders.

Finally, to complete the scientific side of the awards, the Ig Nobel Prize in Materials Science went to a team who clarified that knives made from human excrement are ineffective this work does not seem surprising on the merits (sorry) of it, but was done to (in) validate a historical ethnographic rumor.

Ding dong ditch, romance and hitman

While not scientific, the Ig Nobel Prizes for Peace, Economics and Management are also fun read. The Peace Prize was unfortunately awarded to the governments of India and Pakistan for playing Ding dong Ditch, no reference was given to this.

The economic prize went to an international team who attempted to quantify the relationship between a country’s income inequality and the average amount of kissing. Although at first glance it seems unlikely, the team believed that since mouth-to-mouth kissing could play a role in partner assessment, the amount could vary depending on health. By testing 13 countries on six continents, they found that kissing is more important in established relationships than dating, and that its frequency is affected by income inequality.

Finally, the management award was given to five professional hitmen in China for their strange management strategy: the original hitman accepted the payment and subcontracted the hitman 2, which subcontracted the Hitman 3, who subcontracted Hitman 4, who subcontracted Hitman 5. Again, without reference outside of the trial documents, the Ig Nobel page suggests that the murder did never been a lesson in why delegation isn’t always the best.

The full ceremony is worth the trip and is available in a webcast.

Discover the winners of recent years in our 2019 coverage, and watch this space for coverage of the 2020 Nobel Prizes in early October.

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