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Liquid Cats And Didgeridoos Take Center Stage At Ig Nobel Prize Awards

Scientists do a lot of thinking and researching to come up with solutions or advances to problems in the world. Sometimes, their work leads to leaps in areas such as medical technology, and sometimes, it yields highly unusual results.

The annual Ig Nobel Prize is a spin on the prestigious Nobel Prize. Ig Nobel Prizes are given to researchers who have carried out studies that encourage people think outside the box. The creation of Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research, the prizes are not meant to spotlight the best or worst of scientific research, Reuters reports.

This year’s 27th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony held at Harvard University in Cambridge honored studies ranging from the liquidity of cats, whether playing the didgeridoo can help treat snoring, if hairy-legged vampire bats actually drink human blood, how a live crocodile can influence gambling tendencies, how a fetus respond to music played inside the mother’s vagina, or if walking backwards can make people spill their coffee.

Abrahams said,

We hope that this will get people back into the habits they probably had when they were kids of paying attention to odd things and holding out for a moment and deciding whether they are good or bad only after they have a chance to think.

The internet came away a winner in Marc-Antoine Fardin’s 2014 study “Can a Cat Be Both a Solid and a Liquid?” The French researcher examined those popular photos of cats curling up in glasses, sinks and buckets then used mathematical formulas to conclude that active young felines can hold their physical shape for a longer period compared to older cats.

An international team of six researchers, on the other hand, took home a prize for their 2005 paper entitled, “Didgeridoo Playing as Alternative Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome: Randomized Controlled Trial.” In it, the Australian wind instrument was used to experiment on snorers. The scientists found that the daily practice of blowing on the didgeridoo may have strengthened the upper respiratory tract, helping breathing problems that cause snoring.

The awards ceremony has actual Nobel Prize winners handing out the prizes. Abrahams said, “They are unusual approaches to things.”

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