The 2015 25th 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prizes (with geographical annotation)

Whoo, boy.  Some really groovy, gnarly, bitchin' research was honored last week at what is becoming the penultimate red carpet event in the wonderful world of science.  The 25th 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prizes were announced on the 17th with much fanfare and hoopla.

Nothing as funny as in the 24th 1st Annual Ig Nobels.  It's hard to top stuffing salted pork up your nose to stop bleeding - which is why you now see professional boxers with containers of salted pork in their corners during matches.

Now then, because most Americans barely know U.S. geography (other than a few 4th grade nerds who knew all 48 state capitals back in the fifties), we try to explain where all of the various geographical locations are to be found referenced to the few places that the typical American knows the location of in terms we hope they will sort of comprehend.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE — Callum Ormonde and Colin Raston of Australia, an island continent (it's still being argued which it is) and Tom Yuan, Stephan Kudlacek, Sameeran Kunche, Joshua N. Smith, William A. Brown, Kaitlin Pugliese, Tivoli Olsen, Mariam Iftikhar, Gregory Weiss of the U.S. of A., (that's the country most Americans live in), for inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg.
  • REFERENCE: "Shear-Stress-Mediated Refolding of Proteins from Aggregates and Inclusion Bodies," Tom Z. Yuan, Callum F. G. Ormonde, Stephan T. Kudlacek, Sameeran Kunche, Joshua N. Smith, William A. Brown, Kaitlin M. Pugliese, Tivoli J. Olsen, Mariam Iftikhar, Colin L. Raston, Gregory A. Weiss, ChemBioChem, epub January 2015.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Callum Ormonde, Tivoli Olsen, Colin Raston, Greg Weis
PHYSICS PRIZE — Patricia Yang of the U.S. of A. (get oriented.  This is where you probably live - unless of course you don't live here, so then you live somewhere else) and Taiwan, a small island home to the real government of that huge land mass between Japan (we get to this later) and Russia (we also get to this later), David Hu of the U.S. of A and Taiwan (home of some of the best Chinese restaurants not actually in Japan) and Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo [USA], for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).
  • REFERENCE: "Duration of Urination Does Not Change With Body Size," Patricia J. Yang, Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo, and David L. Hu, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014: 201402289.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Patricia Yang, David Hu, Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo
LITERATURE PRIZE — Mark Dingemanse and Francisco Torreira of the Netherlands (a small country next to Europe) and the U.S. of A. plus Belgium (a smaller country wedged uncomfortably between the Netherlands and what most Americans consider to be Europe), and Nick J. Enfield of Australia (no where near Europe) and the Netherlands, (again, a small country near Europe) for discovering that the word "huh?" (or its equivalent) seems to exist in every human language — and for not being quite sure why.
  • REFERENCE: "Is 'Huh?' a universal word? Conversational infrastructure and the convergent evolution of linguistic items," Mark Dingemanse, Francisco Torreira, and Nick J. Enfield, PLOS ONE, 2013. [a video accompanies the paper.]
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: The authors were unable to attend the ceremony; they sent a video acceptance speech. They will receive their prize at an at a special event in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on October 3: The European Ig Nobel Show
MANAGEMENT PRIZE — Gennaro Bernile of Italy, (the boot shaped country just south of Europe), and Singapore, (a very dense country closer to Australia than to Europe - dense as in population, not collective IQ), and the good old U.S. of A. (an admittedly dense country), Vineet Bhagwat of the U.S.A. and India, ((an entire continent currently experiencing a train wreck with Asia (nowhere near Europe, either) causing the rumpled bumper of the Mahalangur mountain range to arise, including the world's tallest mountain, Sagarmāthā (known in Tibet, another country no where near Europe, as Chomolungma) populated with real Indians and ex-patriot rock and roll musicians)) and P. Raghavendra Rau of the once United Kingdom (currently the ex of Scotland and divorcing Europe over the Syrian refugee crisis), India (see above) France (Europe), Luxumbourg (also between the Netherlands and Europe), Germany (current economic masters of Europe despite losing WW11), and finally Japan (another WW11 loser somewhat near nowhere and especially not Europe) for discovering that many business leaders developed in childhood a fondness for risk-taking, when they experienced natural disasters (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and wildfires) that — for them — had no dire personal consequences.
  • REFERENCE: "What Doesn't Kill You Will Only Make You More Risk-Loving: Early-Life Disasters and CEO Behavior," Gennaro Bernile, Vineet Bhagwat, and P. Raghavendra Rau, accepted for publication in the Journal of Finance, 2015.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Gennaro Bernile and P. Raghavendra Rau
ECONOMICS PRIZE — The Bangkok Metropolitan Police in Thailand, a small country east of the Mahalangur mountains but not quite no where (Japan) for offering to bribe policemen to get them to refuse to take bribes.
  • REFERENCE: Numerous news reports.
MEDICINE PRIZE — Awarded jointly to two groups: Hajime Kimata of Japan (see above) and China, (a mythical country thought to be north of nowhere somewhat close to Russia, a country settled by Vikings from the Scandinavian countries thought to be somewhere north of Europe); and to Jaroslava Durdiaková of Slovakia, (a country currently not part of Europe but flooded with Syrian refugees en route to Europe despite the Donald Trump endorsed barbed wire border fence), the U.S.of A. (a country with streets lined with gold where 25% of the population are from somewhere else, the rest having arrived from no where in particular - see Tennessee), and the aforementioned once United Kingdom, Peter Celec of Slovakia and Germany (this is getting complicated), Natália Kamodyová, Tatiana Sedláčková, Gabriela Repiská, Barbara Sviežená, and Gabriel Minárik also of Slovakia, for their study of the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing (and other intimate, interpersonal activities).
  • REFERENCE: "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.
  • REFERENCE: "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.
  • REFERENCE: "Kissing Selectively Decreases Allergen-Specific IgE Production in Atopic Patients," Hajime Kimata, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, vol. 60, 2006, pp. 545– 547.
  • REFERENCE: "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.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Jaroslava Durdiaková and Peter Celec will be at the ceremony. Hajime Kimata will be at the Ig Informal Lectures, on Saturday, Sept 19 (a prior commmitment prevented him from attending the Thursday ceremony); he sent a video acceptence speech which was played at the Thursday night ceremony.
MATHEMATICS PRIZE — Elisabeth Oberzaucher of Austria, a quasi European country that abuts Lichtenstein, protecting Austria from the notorious aggression of the Swiss Knights Templar who have run the Convention of Helvetia (a group that approves type faces) since the days of William Tell when the Templars threw the Austrians out of Switzerland, creating Lichtenstein as a tax-free haven for American billionaires despite the U.S. of A. not existing at the time), Germany (home of the Volkswagen vehicle that lacks any sort of pollution despite using dirty, dirty, dirty Arab oil (let's not go there)) and the once United Kingdom, and finally, Karl Grammer ((no relation to Kelsey) of, here we go again, Austria and Germany, for trying to use mathematical techniques to determine whether and how Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, managed, during the years from 1697 through 1727, to father 888 children.
  • REFERENCE: "The Case of Moulay Ismael-Fact or Fancy?" Elisabeth Oberzaucher and Karl Grammer, PLOS ONE, vol. 9, no. 2, 2014, e85292.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Elisabeth Oberzaucher


BIOLOGY PRIZE — Bruno Grossi, Omar Larach, Mauricio Canals, Rodrigo A. Vásquez of Chile, (the country, not the spice) and José Iriarte-Díaz also of Chile and the U.S. of A. for observing that when you attach a weighted stick to the rear end of a chicken, the chicken then walks in a manner similar to that in which dinosaurs are thought to have walked.
  • REFERENCE: "Walking Like Dinosaurs: Chickens with Artificial Tails Provide Clues about Non-Avian Theropod Locomotion," Bruno Grossi, José Iriarte-Díaz, Omar Larach, Mauricio Canals, Rodrigo A. Vásquez, PLoS ONE, vol. 9, no. 2, 2014, e88458. [NOTE: The paper is accompanied by a video.>
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Bruno Grossi, José Iriarte-Díaz, Omar Larach, Rodrigo A. Vásquez
DIAGNOSTIC MEDICINE PRIZE — Diallah Karim of Canada, (a country whose ass we kicked in 1812 - they haven't bothered us since) and the once United Kingdom, Anthony Harnden of Middle Earth (aka New Zealand), the aforementioned no-longer-United Kingdom and, the U.S. of A., Nigel D'Souza of Bahrain (west of nowhere and north of Middle Earth), Belgium (if you don't know where it is by now, you're pretty hopeless.  How do you find your ass with either hand?), Dubai, (a teensy-weensy landlocked country adrift in a sea of oil), India (see above), South Africa, (this is difficult to explain as all of Africa is officially south, just some parts are more south than others.  This includes South Africa), the U.S. of A. and, finally, the Kingdom formerly known as United, Andrew Huang of China and the dis-United Kingdom, Abdel Kader Allouni currently of Syria but en route to the once United Kingdom by way of all sorts of quasi and seriously European countries), Helen Ashdown of the once United Kingdom, Richard J. Stevens of ibid (a high-fallutin' term that means look it up dummy), and Simon Kreckler also of ibid (you have looked it up, have you?), for determining that acute appendicitis can be accurately diagnosed by the amount of pain evident when the patient is driven over speed bumps. (They could have reached the same conclusion watching John Wayne walk.)
  • REFERENCE: "Pain Over Speed Bumps in Diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis: Diagnostic Accuracy Study," Helen F. Ashdown, Nigel D'Souza, Diallah Karim, Richard J. Stevens, Andrew Huang, and Anthony Harnden, BMJ, vol. 345, 2012, e8012.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Diallah Karim, Anthony Harnden, Helen Ashdown, Nigel D'Souza, Abdel Kader Allouni
  • PHYSIOLOGY and ENTOMOLOGY PRIZE — Awarded jointly to two individuals: Justin Schmidt [USA, CANADA], for painstakingly creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which rates the relative pain people feel when stung by various insects; and to Michael L. Smith [USA, UK, THE NETHERLANDS], for carefully arranging for honey bees to sting him repeatedly on 25 different locations on his body, to learn which locations are the least painful (the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm). and which are the most painful (the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft).
  • REFERENCE: "Hemolytic Activities of Stinging Insect Venoms," Justin O. Schmidt, Murray S. Blum, and William L. Overal, Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology, vol. 1, no. 2, 1983, pp. 155-160.
  • REFERENCE: "Honey Bee Sting Pain Index by Body Location," Michael L. Smith, PeerJ, 2014, 2:e338.
  • WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Justin Schmidt and Michael Smith

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