The Ig Noble Awards for Physics

Scientists have been responsible for some amazing discoveries, and the world would be a very different place without serious scientific research. But their choices of research subjects can, occasionally, seem a little peculiar.

In 1991, the team at Improbable Research launched the Ig Noble Awards. Their aim was to recognise researchers “for achievements that first make people laugh then make them think”. Prizes are awarded in various categories.

In this first collection of articles I take a look at the research studies that were awarded prizes in the physics category in 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2001. The scientists involved have given us the answers to important questions such as why toast always falls butter side down, how to dunk a biscuit successfully in a cup of tea, how to levitate a frog and why shower curtains billow inwards.

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