Jesus on toast and baby-poop sausages: 2014 Ig Nobel Prizes

Monday, 22 September, 2014


Baby-poop sausages, the physics of slipping on a banana skin and Jesus on toast - the 2014 Ig Nobel Prize winners did not disappoint.

Research achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think” are awarded at the Ig Nobels. Prizes are handed out by actual Nobel Laureates.

In a quest to develop probiotic sausages, Spanish researchers trawled through baby faeces to obtain bacteria that could both ferment sausages and also pass through the stomach to colonise the gut. You’d hope there would be some kind of reward for all their hard work - and there was. They won the Nutrition Prize.

The Medicine Prize went to Marina de Tommaso and colleagues from the University of Bari for their unusual approach to treating uncontrollable nosebleeds: packing the nasal passages with strips of cured pork.

A Chinese-Canadian collaboration won the Neuroscience Prize for their work in trying to comprehend exactly what goes on in the brains of people who see the face of Jesus in a piece of toast.

And - just to stretch the bounds of improbable research - Japanese researchers were awarded the Physics Prize for their work measuring the amount of friction between a shoe, a banana skin and the floor when a person steps on said banana skin. This was published in the journal Tribology Online in 2012.

To read about more of the bizarre research that was honoured at the 2014 Ig Nobels, visit www.improbable.com/ig/winners.

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