Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

Vagina Music on Tour: “The myth of talking to the baby through the mother’s belly is history”

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

The two doctors who led the vagina-music study—which demonstrated that babies respond more strongly to music played electromechanically in the mother’s vagina than to music played electromechanically on the mother’s belly—and which was honored with an Ig Nobel Prize, appeared in the recent Ig Nobel spring EuroTour. Marisa López-Teijón and Álex García-Faura, of Institut Marquès in Barcelona, spread music, information, and cheer to audiences in Sweden and Denmark. At each event, they demonstrated Babypod, the vagina-music product they developed as part of that research project.

The team subsequently produced this video, documenting some of their work, with glimpses at some of their appearances on stage in Scandinavia:

La Vanguardia newspaper summed it up, under the headline “El mito de hablarle al bebé a través de la barriga de la madre es historia” [“The myth of talking to the baby through the mother’s belly is history”].

A very British combination—Tea and Graphene—with an American price

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Britain is famous for tea and also for graphene.

A recently published study combines the two. The study, called “Synergistic Effect Between Tea Polyphenols and Aluminum Flake on the Reduction of Graphene Oxide,” was written by a team of scientists in China. The publisher of the study—American Scientific Publishers—offers to sell you a copy of the study for US $105 plus tax.

(The first usable samples of graphene—a two-dimensional form of carbon—were obtained at the University of Manchester, by physicist Andre Geim and his student Konstantin Novoselov. Geim, an Ig Nobel Prize winner—together with Michael Berry of Bristol University‚ for using magnets to levitate a frog—and Novosolev were later awarded a Nobel Prize for that graphene research.)

Cats and Psychopaths and Vagina Music: Ig Nobel events in Denmark

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

The Ig Nobel EuroTour arrives in Denmark this week:

Cats and Vagina Music and Lying: Ig Nobel events in Stockholm

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

The Ig Nobel EuroTour arrives in Stockholm this week:

  • April 5, Thursday, 3:00 pm—Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden—Berzelius väg 3, in Lecture hall Retzius. Free admission, open to the general public. With:
    • Marc-Antoine Fardin, Ig Nobel Physics Prize winner (can a cat be both a solid and a liquid?)
    • Álex García-Faura and Marisa López-Tejón, Ig Nobel Obstetrics Prize winners (effects of intra-vaginally played music on developing fetuses)
    • Bruno Verschuere, Ig Nobel Psychology Prize winner (asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and deciding whether to believe those answer)
  • April 6, Friday, 12:30 pm—Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden—in Studenthuset, Galleriet. Free admission, open to the public. With:
    • Marc-Antoine Fardin
    • Álex García-Faura and Marisa López-Tejón
    • Bruno Verschuere

And next week, the Ig Nobel EuroTour will finish up, with two shows in Denmark!

Skipping on the Moon – fun maybe, but is it efficient?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

History has shown* that astronauts, or more accurately lunarnauts, often like to skip about when they’re on the Moon. But, fun though it might seem, is skipping (in reduced gravity situations) an efficient way to get around?

Research teams from the Laboratory of Physiomechanics of Locomotion, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, University of Milan, Italy, and PDU Biomechanics, Centro Universitario de Paysandú, Universidad de la República, Uruguay, have – for the first time – performed experiments to find out.

In the absence of a convenient low-gravity environment, they instead used earthbound skippers who were supported by bungee-jumping rubber cords to see how this “almost dismissed gait” stacked up against more everyday gaits such as walking and running.

“From a metabolic perspective, our results show that bouncing gaits benefit in low gravity more than walking, and that skipping reports the highest gain in cost reduction, reaching values for terrestrial walking. This could partly explain astronauts’ choice during Apollo 14 and 17 missions of skipping gait while moving on the Moon.”

The researchers predict that skipping will be useful if lunarnauts ever return to the Moon.

“It is likely that skipping will be used also for steering and moving in circles on the lunar surface, as it is an asymmetrical gait that quadrupeds deterministically use to turn (in the direction of the leading limb of the front pair first, then followed by the hindlimbs), as observable in show jumping competition.”

See: Skipping vs. running as the bipedal gait of choice in hypogravity in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Volume 119, Issue 1, 2015

* Notes:

[1] A supplementary video, from which the still above is taken, is available here in .mov format.

[2] One of the co-authors of this new study, Alberto E. Minetti, co-won the 2013 Ig Nobel Physics Prize for a paper about running on water on the Moon:

[3] And another winner of the same prize, Nadia Dominici, will be discussing aspects of the running-on-water-on-the-Moon project at the Ig Nobel show next week at EPLF, in Lausanne, Switzerland (March 27th, 2018).