Ig Nobel Prizes Go Out to Alligators on Helium and Researchers Making Knives Out of Frozen Poop

Photo: George Shelley Productions (Getty Images)

When the Nobel Prize winners are announced each year, it’s a pretty big deal. The awards are extremely prestigious. The Ig Nobel Prizes might be slightly less prestigious but are a lot more fun. If you’ve never heard of the Ig Nobel Prizes, they’ve been awarded each year since their inception in 1991. The satirical awards are given to “honor achievements that make people laugh, then think.” While the awards themselves are a bit of a tongue-in-cheek joke, the actual accomplishments aren’t technically supposed to be funny.

Recently, the 2020 Ig Nobel Prizes were announced, and boy are they interesting. In the virtual ceremony, awards were given to researchers who claim that you can pick out a narcissist based on their eyebrows, a study saying that a lot of entomologists choose their career based on a crippling fear of spiders, and a group that studied high-frequency sounds and their effect of the body shapes of earthworms.

But more notable than these discoveries is the prize given to researchers at Ohio’s Kent State University. They created knives made out of nothing but frozen poop. If that was the end of the story that would be good enough for us. But they did this to figure out if the story of an Inuit man who crafted a knife made from his own poop could be verified.

Another well-deserved award was given to a collaboration between Austrian and Japanese researchers who studied the sounds made by an alligator in a helium-filled box. The focus was to see if the sounds alligators make are based on their size, but we assume there was a lot more laughter than hard research.

While many of these researchers might never win an actual Nobel Prize, we hope they understand how lucky they are to garner attention from this satirical award ceremony. They worked hard and are finally getting the acclaim they deserve.

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