Everyone is familiar with the Nobel Prizes, which are awarded for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. These are given to those who have contributed "the greatest benefit to humankind". However, fewer people are aware of the Ig Nobel Prize. This is bestowed to "honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think". One of this year's Ig Nobel awards has been given to scientists who experimented on the effects on rhinoceroses of hanging them upside down. The rhino study won the award for transportation research. Researchers from Cornell University were trying to ascertain the healthiest way to relocate the animals by helicopter.
The Ig Nobel prizes are organized by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research. Wikipedia says: "The Ig Nobel Prize is a satirical prize awarded annually since 1991 to celebrate ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research." It added: "The name of the award is a pun on the Nobel Prize, which it parodies, and on the word ignoble (not noble)." Other recipients of this year's award studied the bacteria in chewing gum stuck to pavements, conducted tests on forms of cat communication, and carried out research on whether humans evolved to grow beards to protect themselves from punches to the face. All award winners receive a now-defunct Zimbabwean $10 trillion note.
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