2015 Ig Nobel prizes: unboiling an egg and turning a chicken into a dinosaur

Ig Nobel prizes awarded for unconventional science

A machine that can unboil an egg, the discovery that the word "huh?" occurs in every language, and a universal law of urination were just some of the winners of the 2015 Ig Nobel prizes.

The Ig Nobels celebrate "improbable research" - scientific discoveries that are unusual, seemingly trivial or just plain weird. Since 1991, they've been awarding prizes to research that "makes people laugh, and then think".

The chemistry prize went to a team who partially unboiled an egg using a vortex fluid device - a machine that converts unfolded proteins into folded proteins. The results could be used in the production of cheese and the manufacturing of cancer treatments.

The management prize went to a group who found that children who experience (but aren't harmed by) natural disasters tend to take more risks as business leaders. Raghu Rau, who led the team, uses Apple as an example - Steve Jobs supposedly survived a landslide as a child, and took plenty of risks in his tenure as CEO.

Pain Index

Entomologist Justin Schmidt won the physiology prize for allowing himself to be stung by more than 200 bees in different parts of the body to learn which locations are the most painful. The nostril, upper lip and penis shaft, for the record, hurt the most - while the skull, middle toe tip and upper arm are the least painful.

The mathematics prize was won by a team of Austrians who calculated that is was possible for Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, to have successfully fathered 888 children between the years 1697 and 1727.

Finally, the physics prize was won by researchers who established that almost all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds, and the biology prize was given to a South American scientist who attached a stick to the rear of a chicken and observed that it then walked like a dinosaur.

You can find a full list of winners, as well as links to their published research, on the Ig Nobel website.

Image credit: Melanie Cook // CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Duncan Geere
Duncan Geere is TechRadar's science writer. Every day he finds the most interesting science news and explains why you should care. You can read more of his stories here, and you can find him on Twitter under the handle @duncangeere.