Huh? Ig Nobel prizes go to un-boiled eggs, bee-stung penises & dinosaur-tailed chickens

Bruno Grossi (R), walks like a dinosaur as he and his team accept the Ig Nobel Prize in Biology. © Gretchen Ertl
Studies arming chickens with dinosaur tails, identifying the most painful bee sting areas on the body and estimating optimal mammal peeing time were praised at this year's Ig Nobels award ceremony at Harvard University, marrying insanity with absurdity.

The Ig Nobels, awarded for ‘improbable research’, have turned 25 this year.

The Biology Prize was awarded to a breakthrough study showing that if you choose to attach an artificial weighted tail to the rear end of a chicken it will actually start sashaying like a dinosaur.

The Ig Nobel awards are designed to praise achievements that "make people laugh, and then think." This year's winners traveled from six continents to take home the coveted trophies.

A group of researchers from the US and Taiwan took home the Ig Nobel Physics Prize for carefully testing the biological principle that as a matter of fact nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).

A PhD student from Cornell University, Michael Smith, has a chance to enter history books for ranking the pain of bee stings on different parts of the body. Smith selflessly let bees sting him repeatedly on 25 versatile locations on his body, to find out which are the least painful (the skull, tip of the middle toe and upper arm), and the most unbearable (the nostril, upper lip, and shaft of the penis).

The quirky chemistry prize this time around went to Callum Ormonde and Colin Raston from Australia, and a group of researchers from the US for inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg. Don't try it at home, though.

Researchers from Japan and Eastern Europe were acknowledged as the best in the medicine category for shedding some light to the consequences of “intense kissing and other intimate, interpersonal activities.” Lab rats were no match for this task, so the scientists had to kiss each other to assess the consequences first hand, only to find out that the benefits included a decrease in allergic reactions.

The Ig Nobel Mathematics Prize was awarded to Elisabeth Oberzaucher and Karl Grammer (University of Vienna, Austria) for simply “trying to use mathematical techniques” to find out whether - and indeed how - Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, managed to father as many as 888 children in less than three decades, from 1697 through 1727.

The Economics Prize meanwhile went to the Bangkok Metropolitan Police for offering to pay its officers extra cash if they refused to take bribes. Very practical indeed.

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Mark Dingemanse (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, the Netherlands) and colleagues took home the Ig Nobel in Literature for discovering that the word "huh?" (or its equivalent) seems to exist in every human language. Wha?

The annual Ig prizes are awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research as a whimsical beam of comfort to the Nobel Prizes, due to be announced next month. Former winners of real Nobels handed out the spoof awards at the ceremony, which also included a mini-opera about the race between millions of species to determine which one is the best.