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Here are the 2022 Ig Nobel Prize winners

The science of making you laugh and then think —

Mayan ritual enemas, constipation scorpions, and moose crash test dummies function.

Jennifer Owlett –

enlarge/ The Ig Nobel Prize is designed to recognize “achievements that make people laugh first, then think.”

Aurich Lawson / Getty Images The Ig Nobel Prizes honor

  • Would you give yourself a scientific alcohol enema? Test the running speed of constipated scorpions in the lab? Building your own moose crash test dummy? Or maybe you want to tackle the thorny question of why legal documents are so hard to understand. These and other unusual research efforts were honored tonight in a virtual ceremony announcing the 2022 Ig Nobel Prize winners. Yep, it’s that time of year again, where seriousness meets stupidity – for science. You can watch the awards ceremony live here.
    Founded in 1991, the Ig Nobel Prize is a A well-meaning imitation of the award; they honor “the achievement of making people laugh first and then think”. Unapologetic awards ceremonies often feature miniature operas, science demonstrations and 24/7 lectures in which experts have to explain their work twice: once in 24 seconds and the second in just seven words. Acceptance speeches are limited to 60 seconds. As the motto suggests, the honored research may seem absurd at first glance, but that doesn’t mean it has no scientific merit. Audience can listen to the usual 24/7 lectures, and the premiere of the mini-opera,
      The Omniscient Club

    • , where each member “made it clear that they thought there was only one person in the Know-It-All club who knew everything”— — This is in keeping with the knowledge theme of the evening. Winners will also give free public presentations in the weeks following the awards ceremony, which will be posted on the Improbable Research website.
      Here are the 2022 Ig Nobel Prize winners. The Ig Nobel Prizes honor

      Art History Award


      : “Peter de Smet and Nicholas Hellmuth, their study ‘Ancient A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Mayan Pottery Ritual Enema Scenario’” The Ig Nobel Prizes honor Honestly, I could write an entire article on this fascinating 1986 dissertation, adapted from de Smet’s PhD thesis. The study focuses on polychrome pottery from the Late Classic Mayan period (600-900 AD), which often depicts palace scenes, ball games, hunting parties, and dances (through beheadings) associated with human sacrifice. But in 1977, scholars discovered a Mayan jar depicting the administration of an enema, followed by several others.

    • Another view of a painted Mayan bowl showing a ritual enema. Another smoking money appears to be holding an enema syringe, while a humanoid holds one hand near their anus.
      Nicholas Helmus
    • Apparently the Mayans were known for using medicinal enemas, but the pottery scene suggests they may have used intoxicating enemas in a ritual setting too . De Smet and Hellmuth analyzed several images on pottery depicting enemas, as well as the language glyphs that appear in these scenes. They also compiled a list of possible “ethnopharmacological” substances that the Mayans might have ingested.

      A long tradition of self-experimentation in science In, de Smet (a self-proclaimed “non-smoker” and “a regular coffee and beer drinker”) tested several of the substances suspected to have been administered by giving themselves enemas. Before taking the enema alone, he drank an oral alcohol mix for comparison. The alcohol content of both mixtures is about 5%, “because enemas with 20% alcohol are very irritating to the rectal tissue”, so a lot of the mixture needs to be consumed. Intoxication levels were measured with a breathalyzer. “The results certainly support the theoretical suggestion that alcohol is well absorbed from enemas,” the authors concluded.
      Given the evidence of toxic side effects, De Smet wisely refuses to self-administer tobacco enemas. He has also not personally tested psilocybin mushrooms, fungus, water lily (a possible hallucinogen), Tsitse (
      alkaloids) or Toh-ku – these are Unlikely to be used in rituals depicted on pottery. He also chose to skip toad poison toad

    • alkaloid bufalin). Instead, he gave the closely related dimethyltryptamine (DMT) enema and found “no apparent effect.” However, with N of 1, the dose is quite low. The authors suggest “further research” to expand the sample size and dose range, but we didn’t delve into it to find out if any other intrepid researchers followed Desmet’s self-enema path.




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