Tailless Scorpions & Synchronized Swimmers: The Ig Nobel Prizes 2022

How did they come up with their research topics? The winners of the anti-Nobel prizes probably only know themselves. But it's good that they share their knowledge with us. And entertaining. After all, who else would think scientifically about the most effective way to open a door ... ?
Text Alfred Rzyski
Photo NASA

No, despite the abbreviation "Ig," this is not about Instagram Nobel Prizes - but about research that should first make you laugh and then make you think. That is the central condition of the Ignoble Nobel Prize, also known as the Anti-Nobel Prize. Now the winners for 2022 have been announced. For research on the use of ice cream in cancer therapy and synchronously swimming ducklings. We introduce four of this year's winners and their research.

1. Tailless scorpions and their problems

We would generally stay away from scorpions. Solimary García-Hernández and Glauco Machado don't. They prefer to research specimens from the arachnid class on the topic: "Short- and long-term effects of an extreme case of autotomy: does loss of the tail and subsequent engorgement reduce motor performance in male and female scorpions?" All right, everyone has their interests. As for the study's findings, it's more bad news for the males: they're slowing down, taking longer to find potential mates as a result - and their lifespans are shortening anyway. Sometimes it's just good to be human …

2. Pic-a-potty

Who would have thought that already the Maya created performance art. What we mean? The fact that pictures of their ritual enemas were depicted on clay pots cannot be interpreted much differently from our point of view. For one almost inevitably leads to the other. Peter de Smet and Nicholas Hellmuth offer with "A multidisciplinary analysis of ritual enema scenes on ancient Maya pottery" another attempt to explain one of the not so great mysteries of mankind. And that is: consumption of narcotic substances.

No, despite the abbreviation "Ig," this is not about Instagram Nobel Prizes - but about research that is first meant to make you laugh and then make you think.

3. When a door closes … a gate opens

Gen Matsuzaki, Kazuo Ohuchi, Masaru Uehara, Yoshiyuki Ueno, and Goro Imura must have thought something like this. And with their research paper, they have opened the door to the question of how best to reopen a closed door. Logically, they took matters into their own hands in the process and wrote two studies, including the work: "Experimental Studies on the Turning Control of Column Knobs - The Number of Fingers Used at the Time of the Start of Turning Control."

Credit: unsplash.com

4. Feathered synchronized swimming

Ducks are simply fascinating animals: they can fly, run and swim. And they are actually quite good at all three modes of locomotion. And swimming is even very energy-efficient, Zhi-Ming Yuan, Minglu Chen, Laibing Jia, Chunyan Ji, and Atilla Incecik found out. Similarly, a certain Frank E. Fish was also awarded the Nobel Prize for his work "Energy Conservation by Formation Swimming: Metabolic Evidence from Ducklings." Please forgive us, but: Mr. Fish must have felt very comfortable with the subject. Like a fish in water, that is.

The other award winners can be found at:


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