2023 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

The 2023 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded on September 14. Watch the video of the ceremony here.

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that make people LAUGH, then THINK. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.


  • CHEMISTRY and GEOLOGY PRIZE: Jan Zalasiewicz, for explaining why many scientists like to lick rocks.
  • LITERATURE PRIZE: Chris Moulin, Nicole Bell, Merita Turunen, Arina Baharin, and Akira O’Connor for studying the sensations people feel when they repeat a single word many, many, many, many, many, many, many times.
  • MECHANICAL ENGINEERING PRIZE: Te Faye Yap, Zhen Liu, Anoop Rajappan, Trevor Shimokusu, and Daniel Preston, for re-animating dead spiders to use as mechanical gripping tools.
  • PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Seung-min Park, for inventing the Stanford Toilet, a device that uses a variety of technologies — including a urinalysis dipstick test strip, a computer vision system for defecation analysis, an anal-print sensor paired with an identification camera, and a telecommunications link — to monitor and quickly analyze the substances that humans excrete.
  • COMMUNICATION PRIZE: María José Torres-Prioris, Diana López-Barroso, Estela Càmara, Sol Fittipaldi, Lucas Sedeño, Agustín Ibáñez, Marcelo Berthier, and Adolfo García, for studying the mental activities of people who are expert at speaking backward.
  • MEDICINE PRIZE: Christine Pham, Bobak Hedayati, Kiana Hashemi, Ella Csuka, Tiana Mamaghani, Margit Juhasz, Jamie Wikenheiser, and Natasha Mesinkovska, for using cadavers to explore whether there is an equal number of hairs in each of a person’s two nostrils.
  • NUTRITION PRIZE: Homei Miyashita and Hiromi Nakamura, for experiments to determine how electrified chopsticks and drinking straws can change the taste of food.
  • EDUCATION PRIZE: Katy Tam, Cyanea Poon, Victoria Hui, Wijnand van Tilburg, Christy Wong, Vivian Kwong, Gigi Yuen, and Christian Chan, for methodically studying the boredom of teachers and students.
  • PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Stanley Milgram, Leonard Bickman, and Lawrence Berkowitz for experiments on a city street to see how many passersby stop to look upward when they see strangers looking upward.
  • PHYSICS PRIZE: Bieito Fernández Castro, Marian Peña, Enrique Nogueira, Miguel Gilcoto, Esperanza Broullón, Antonio Comesaña, Damien Bouffard, Alberto C. Naveira Garabato, and Beatriz Mouriño-Carballido, for measuring the extent to which ocean-water mixing is affected by the sexual activity of anchovies.

Links to the complete citations and research articles are here.

6 thoughts on “2023 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

  1. Wait, “looking upwards” doesn’t sound original. There was Forte, who I think spoke of that, and there was the story where someone was on street corners, looking up, and muttering “blue flames”, and had many other people join them, but had vanished when the authorities came to look for him.

  2. Jan Zalasiewicz is an excellent science writer (as well as being a professional geologist). I just finished his The Planet in a Pebble, and he made geochemistry interesting and understandable.

  3. Reply to mark re looking up. Given that Stanley Milgram has been dead lo so many years I think time is not a factor. In 1978 I myself conducted one-off of such experiment. And my findings were based on “you had to be there”: it solely depends on whether you are noticed looking up.

  4. I vaguely recall seeing an old cartoon on that subject, with a caption on the order of “Don’t look up, that’s what they want you to do”.

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