Since 1991, Marc Abrahams has been giving out the Ig Nobel Prizes to the researchers who have conducted the most ridiculous scientific experiments during the year. The next awards will be given out on October 2nd at MIT. Recently, he awarded a prize to a study about why teenagers pick their noses.
One Ig Nobel winner was a scientific paper by three Scottish doctors about “The Collapse of Toilets in Glasgow.” After three patients in six months showed up in their emergency room with injuries they got while sitting on the toilet, doctors decided to investigate. They wrote, “Excessive age of the toilets was implicated as a causative factor. As many toilets get older episodes of collapse may become more common, resulting in further injuries. We would therefore advise that the older porcelain familiar to so many of us should be treated with a certain degree of caution. An obvious way of using a toilet without fear of collapse is?not to sit down, but to adopt a hovering stance.”
An Ig Nobel Award was given to a 1995 study published in the European Journal of Physics entitled “Tumbling Toast, Murphy’s Law and the Fundamental Constants.” In it, Robert Matthews discovered that, “Toast falling off the breakfast table lands butter-side down because the universe is made that way.”
The nose picking study was done by Indian scientists, who found that nose picking is the same across social classes. They also found that about 80% of teenagers do it with their fingers while the rest use tweezers or pencils. They discovered about 50% of people pick to unclog their nose, 11% do it for cosmetic reasons while a similar number of people do it just for fun.
Want to read some real research? Check out our reporter Linda Moulton Howe. She gives us a new, dynamite science report every week on Dreamland. To visit the Ig Nobel website,click here.
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