Nobel, schnobel

For all of those scientific breakthroughs that don’t quite get the prestige of a Nobel Prize, well, there is the “Ig Nobel Prize.” It’s a real thing, presented by real Nobel winners, but it recognizes bizarre findings—most of which have been published in prestigious journals. Links to the original articles can be found on Here are a few of the coolest ones:

Woodpeckers: Despite all the banging they do with their heads, they don’t get headaches.

Teen pitch: A Welshman created a device that delivers a high-pitched noise that only teenagers can hear—and then he figured out how to make cell-phone ring tones that teenagers, but not their teachers, could hear.

Finally, a cure for the hiccups! It entails a “digital rectal massage.” You go ahead, we’ll settle for holding our breath till our faces turn blue.

How many snaps? For a group of 30 people, you’d have to take anywhere from 15 to 30 photographs (depending on light conditions) to ensure you get a pic without anyone blinking.

For those of you who think you’re smarter than everyone else: A Princeton University professor published an article titled “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.” Awesome.

Some notable past winners: 2005: A man from Missouri invented fake testicles for dogs—in variable sizes and firmnesses.

2004: The engineering award was presented to the men who patented the comb-over.

2001: An Ig Nobel award was granted for the invention of Under-Ease, airtight undies that remove stinky gases before they’re released. Genius!

And, finally, here’s one we journalists can get behind: In 2001, the literature prize went to the founder of the Apostrophe Protection Society, for his “efforts to protect, promote and defend the differences between plural and possessive.”