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Ig Nobel Awards Celebrates 30 Years of the Lighter Side of Science involving Earthworms

Science TimesSince 1991, the Ig Nobel Awards have been celebrated to award ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research that "first make people laugh, and then make them think." The award is a parody of the Nobel Prize and the word ignoble.

This year is the 30th year that showcases the lighter side of science but in quarantine style due to the restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst the global crisis, it seems there is no shortage of amusing people, from the alligators made to bellow in helium chambers to drunken earthworms that vibrate on speakers. These all seemingly odd experiments have caught the eye of the Judges.

Then, another team of scientists from Australia made a creative approach to animal science as they were investigating how human brains function. Their experiment involved drunken earthworms placed atop sub-woofer speakers and scientists using "subharmonic waves" to explore the role of nerve-based electric pulses and sound wave signals in the brain.

Due to their experiment, the researchers received an award from the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize for Physics. Swinburne University's Dr. Ivan Maksymov said that they decided to use earthworms because they are cheap and do not require ethics approval. Their axons are quite similar to mammalian nerve fibres. Most importantly, they could easily anesthetize earthworms with vodka.

Read more on The Science Times




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