Exploding Colons: Ig Nobels Reveal the Mystery

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on September 24, 2012

in Campus Culture, Learning

Ig Nobel awards

Ig Nobel Awards. Photo: Jaya Narain

A rite of student life—attending the annual Ig Nobel prizes—has an MIT connection. The prizes are organized by the scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research, presented by Nobel Laureates at a ceremony at Harvard University (used to be at MIT), and MIT hosts a set of public lectures by the winners the next day in 10-250. The Tech reported on this year’s event, held Sept. 20, which honored research that unraveled deep mysteries such as exploding colons and dead fish with brain activity

Here’s an except of Jaya Narain’s Sept. 21 article:

“If you’ve ever wondered about exploding colons or the brain activity of dead salmon, you might be interested in the work done by this year’s Ig Nobel Laureates The 22nd Ig Nobel Awards, prizes awarded annually for improbable research that “first make people laugh, and then make them think” were awarded yesterday in Sanders Theater at Harvard University. The theme for the 22nd Ig Nobels was “The Universe.” Previous themes have spanned topics ranging from “Duct Tape” to “Biodiversity”…

“The first award was given to Emmanuel Ben Soussan, a gastroenterologist from Paris, France, who received the Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work showing that if lasers are used for coagulation during a colonoscopy and the patient’s bladder is not perfectly clean, the colon will explode….

Learn more: read the article.

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