Ig Nobel winners expand on their research in free lectures

Listen, old men really do have big ears

A British physician, Heathcote won the Ig Nobel for anatomy for his big-ear research, which found that men's ears grow about 0.08 per decade after age 30. Ig Nobel Prize - a parody of the Nobel Prize.

This year's awards in physics, economics, medicine and even an Ig Nobel Peace Prize, included something described as "a replica of a human head supporting a replica of a question mark", along with a piece of paper saying you won an Ig Nobel (signed by actual Nobel laureates) and $10 trillion - Zimbabwean.

It is the brainchild of Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research.

Physics Prize: Marc-Antoine Fardin, for using fluid dynamics to probe the question "Can a Cat Be Both a Solid and a Liquid?".

An image from the paper "On the rheology of cats" by M.A. Fardin.

Taking place this year in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the highlights from this year include how cats behave as both a solid and liquid, that playing a didgeridoo helps reduce snoring, and that identical twins frequently find it a challenge to tell each other apart in photographs.

And Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer landed the Economics Prize for looking into the age-old question: How does contact with a live crocodile affect a person's willingness to gamble? So old men really do have bigger ears, it turns out - and the older, the bigger. The prize for anatomy was awarded to James Heathcote, who attempted to answer the very profound question of why old men have big ears.

After analyzing four species of insects from caves in Brazil that belong to the insect genus Neotrogla, they discovered that the females of these species possess penis-like genitals, while the males have vagina-like phallosomes.

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They delivered a short video acceptance speech, filmed in a cave.

- Fluid Dynamics: A Study on the Coffee Spilling Phenomenon in the Low Impulse Regime by Jiwon Han.

Other notable winners include: (fluid dynamics) Jiwon "Jesse" Han from South Korea and his sterling work into the fluid dynamics "of liquid-sloshing" as it pertains to a "person walk [ing] backward carrying a cup of coffee"; (medicine) the worldwide team who used advanced brain scans "to measure the extent to which some people are disgusted by cheese"; (Cognition) The Italian researcher team who tested whether identical twins could distinguish between their own face and their sibling's.

The perception of cheese constitutes a good model to study the cerebral processes of food disgust and aversion, researchers said.

Cognition Prize: Matteo Martini, Ilaria Bufalari, Maria Antonietta Stazi and Salvatore Maria Aglioti, for demonstrating that many identical twins can not tell themselves apart visually. Have vampire bats developed a taste for human blood?

After studying the facial expressions of fetuses in the womb and how they reacted to speakers placed in different locations, Spanish researchers took the concept one step further and created the a "fetal acoustic stimulation device" called the 'Babypod'.

Spanish company Babypod has invented a speaker that is created to be inserted into the vagina, stimulating foetal development.

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