As usual, the Ig Nobel this time was also colored by unusual studies.
The award ceremony by the 28th Annals of Improbable Research magazine held at Harvard University did indeed reward studies that “initially made you laugh then think”.
This time, awards in the field of medicine fell to researchers from the United States who study the effect of roller coaster in treating kidney stones.
Professor David Wartinger from Michigan State University got the idea to do the research when he discovered that one of his patients managed to remove kidney stones after riding a roller coaster ride called Thunder Mountain at Disney World, Florida.
Together with his colleagues, Wartinger also built a kidney system model and tested it on various roller coaster rides. Wartinger’s theory was proven and now he always prescribes a roller coaster ride for anyone suffering from kidney stones.
“The vehicle literally rocked the rock apart,” Wartinger said.
However, not just any roller coaster is effective in curing kidney stones.
Wartinger and colleagues found that the best is a roller coaster that moves up and down, and right and left, quickly and roughly. In contrast, roller coasters are just amazingly fast but only go down once and won’t work in treating kidney stones.
Besides Wartinger, there are many other unique studies that won awards at the Ig Nobel event.
The award in the field of biology, for example, falls to a group of researchers who can identify the existence of flies in wine glasses with only the smell.
Then, the award for medical education fell to a Japanese doctor who created an independent colonoscopy technique. The peace award was also given to researchers from Spain who measured the effect of cursing when driving.
However, another most interesting study was the award-winning nutrition by Dr. James Cole. This archeology teacher from the University of Brighton measures the calorific value of eating the human body.
His findings show that eating animals is more calorie-beneficial than eating humans. From there, Cole argued that human ancestors practicing cannibalism might do so for social, non-nutritional reasons.