Health Care

Liquid cats and blood-sucking bats: 2017's Ig Nobel awards

Liquid cats and blood-sucking bats: 2017's Ig Nobel awards”

Now a scientific paper arguing that the feline species may indeed transcend some of the usual physical boundaries has been recognised with one of science's most sought-after accolades: an Ig Nobel prize, The Guardian says.

Can a cat be both liquid and solid at the same time?

The nutrition prize went Brazilian researchers Enrico Bernard and his team for the first scientific report of human blood in the diet of the hairy-legged vampire bat.

Their winning of the Ig Nobel Prize marked the 11th straight year of Japanese receiving the spoof version of the Nobel Prize.

The annual awards ceremony for research that "first makes you laugh, then makes you think" took place at Harvard University on Thursday, September 15 evening, with three bona fide Nobel laureates, including the British-born economist Oliver Hart, on hand to distribute prizes.

The prizes are the brainchild of Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research, and are intended not to honour the best or worst in science, but rather to highlight research that encourages people to think in unusual ways. That sum was worth about US$8 (€6) when the bank note was issued in 2009.

"Each victor has done something that makes people laugh, then think", said Abrahams.

The physics prize went to Frenchman Marc-Antoine Fardin, who, inspired by Internet photos of cats in odd places, investigated the question; "Can a Cat Be Both a Solid and a Liquid?"

In his acceptance speech, Fardin explained that a liquid could be defined as something which adapts its shape to the container it is in.

"When I was asked if I was willing to accept the prize, the answer was easy", he added.

Incredibly, only seven years ago the world did not know the effect that holding a live crocodile has on people's gambling habits.

The ceremony also recognised a Swiss team for showing, in a randomised controlled trial, that didgeridoo playing reduces snoring and eases the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea. And it has been barely 20 years since science definitively established whether old men's ears really are larger.

The awards are not an attempt at ridiculing science, the Ig Nobel website states. "A lot of bad science gets revered despite its absurdity".

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