The effect of anchovies’ sexuality on your circumference or the number of hairs on your nose: this year, amazing research also won the ironic Ig Nobel Prize. The award winners also include a Dutchman who conducted research on boredom in the classroom.
Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded for research that not only makes you laugh, but also makes you think. The awards are divided into ten categories, including literature, mathematics and physics.
For example, the Literature Prize was awarded for a study about how people feel when many words are repeated. A study into how anchovies’ sexual activity causes movement in the ocean has won a physics prize.
The award in the medicine category went to a group of researchers who counted the number of nasal hairs people have and whether this number varies across the nostril. To do this, they counted the nose hairs of twenty deceased people.
“The award shows the joyful side of science.”
The award winners also include a Dutch researcher. Wijnand van Tilburg, affiliated with the University of Essex, contributed to a study on boredom among teachers and students. “This could be a big problem,” he says in a written response to NU.nl. Boredom can also cause low grades and problematic behavior. “So we investigate the causes of boredom, in the hope of preventing boredom.”
His research has shown that simply anticipating that a lesson will be boring makes students feel bored. Therefore, not only the content and style of teaching must be taken into account, but also students’ expectations, says Van Tilburg.
The Dutchman is happy with his award. “I couldn’t believe it at first,” he writes. “The award is ironic, but it helps show the ‘happy’ side of science. The fact that our research can address serious problems and make people smile is fantastic.”
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