Winners of 2013 Ig Nobel awards for weird science

Winners of the 2013 Ig Nobel Prizes were announced at a ceremony at Harvard University on Thursday night.

— Psychology: An experiment that found people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive, conducted by Laurent Bègue, Oulmann Zerhouni, Baptiste Subra and Medhi Ourabah of France and Brad Bushman, a professor at Ohio State University who also teaches in the Netherlands.

— Joint prize in biology and astronomy: An experiment that showed lost dung beetles can use the Milky Way to find their way home. Marie Dacke, Emily Baird, Marcus Byrne, Clarke Scholtz and Eric Warrant, who work in Sweden, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Germany.

— Medicine: A study assessing the effect of listening to opera on heart transplant patients who are mice. Given to Masateru Uchiyama, Xiangyuan Jin, Qi Zhang, Toshihito Hirai, Atsushi Amano, Hisashi Bashuda and Masanori Niimi, of Japan, China and the United Kingdom.

— Safety engineering: An electro-mechanical system to trap an airplane hijacker by dropping him or her through a trap door, sealing him or her into a package and then dropping the packaged hijacker (with a parachute) to the ground where police will be waiting. Given to Gustano Pizzo of the U.S., who died in 2006.

— Physics: The discovery that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if both they and the pond were on the moon. Given to Alberto Minetti, Yuri Ivanenko, Germana Cappellini, Nadia Dominici, and Francesco Lacquaniti of Italy, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia and France.

— Chemistry: The discovery that the biochemical process by which onions make people cry is even more complicated than scientists previously realized. Shinsuke Imai, Nobuaki Tsuge, Muneaki Tomotake, Yoshiaki Nagatome, Toshiyuki Nagata and Hidehiko Kumgai of Japan and Germany.

— Archaeology: Two researchers who parboiled a dead shrew, then swallowed it without chewing so they could examine their excrement to see which bones would dissolve in the human digestive system and which would not. Given to Brian Crandall of the U.S. and Peter Stahl of Canada and the U.S.

— Peace: Belarus and its president, for making it illegal to applaud in public, and to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding.

— Probability: Researchers who discovered that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up, but that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again. Awarded to Bert Tolkamp, Marie Haskell, Fritha Langford, David Roberts and Colin Morgan of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Canada.

— Public health: For medical techniques described in their report, “Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam.” They recommend the techniques, except in cases where an amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck. Awarded to Kasian Bhanganada, Tu Chayavatana, Chumporn Pongnumkul, Anunt Tonmukayakul, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Krit Komaratal, and Henry Wilde of Thailand.

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