In the Ig Nobel Awards, Harvard University has taken away some of the cutting-edge anticipation leading up to next week's Noble Prizes by honoring scientists, not for the quality of their research, but instead for the amount their research makes people laugh.
The invention of a wasabi-based fire alarm, the discovery that yawning among tortoises was not contagious and the revelation that a full bladder affected short-term memory and attention span, were among those honored by the Journal of Improbable Research, which administered the awards.
Researchers from Japan were awarded the Ig Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their invention of a wasabi smoke alarm that lets off a mist of wasabi to wake up those with hearing disabilities during a fire alert.
A team of Australian researchers took the prize for Biology for their findings that beetles mistook stubby beer bottles for females and tried to mate with them.
We were walking along a dirt road with the usual scattering of beer cans and bottles when we saw about six bottles with beetles on top or crawling up the side. It was clear the beetles were trying to mate with the bottles, said winner Darryl Gwynne, The National Post Reported.
The research found that the particular orangey -brown bottle, known to Australians as a stubby, reflects light in a similar way to female wings.
Another favorite was the winning entry for the physiology prize. It found that found the red-footed tortoise did not exhibit characteristics of contagious yawning like humans. The research team believes that contagious yawning is a more sophisticated phenomenon that comes as a result of empathy.
This year's personal favorite from Mar Abrahams, the co-founder of the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research, was the winning entry for the Public Safety Award that went to John Senders of the University of Toronto, Reuters reported.
Sender's and his team carried out an experiment to see how distractions affected public driving on the highway. In this case, they measured the distractions of a flapping visor on the helmet of the person driving.
The winner of the Medicine Prize also measured distractions as he experimented with water, working out how one's urge to urinate affected one's attention and working memory. Their study found that people suffer considerably when fighting the urge to release their bladder.
The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh and then think, intended to spur people's interest in science, medicine and technology.