The time of year for walking on a lake – on the Moon

It’s that time of year. The time when scientists line up around the block to answer age-old questions like: ‘would I be able to run across the surface of a pond or lake, if that pond or lake was on the Moon?’.

We are, of course, talking of the Ig Nobel Prize awards. Each year, the Ig Nobel celebrates what can, to put it mildly, be described as improbable research. I’ve previously said that the people who get grants for the various projects presented at the Ig Nobel awards should be kept in the world of science. If any of them ever switched to selling used cars, everyone would be driving 1997 Nissans and Fords before we could say E = MC squared.

Take the winner in the field of medicine, where the winners assessed the effect of listening to opera, on heart transplant patients. Sounds good (sorry, poor pun), doesn’t it? Well, the patients in question were mice.

Or what about the price for chemistry? The winners had spent years (and research funds) discovering that the biochemical process by which onions make people cry is even more complicated than scientists previously realized. So complicated it makes scientists cry? Perhaps.

My personal favourite also has one of the longest and most specific titles that should really have been in a Douglas Novel: “Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam” — techniques which they recommend, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck.

Oh, and the answer to the question above was yes – you can run on the surface of a pond on the Moon…or, some people would be able to do so…it depends on your weight.

See more great science fun, you should go here.

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