Poo scoop snares an Ig Nobel


Australians share the glory for outstanding work in physics.


The focus of Scott Carver's research was the cubed-shape of wombat's poo. 

P. YANG AND D. HU/GEORGIA TECH

Researchers Scott Carver, Ashley Edwards and Alynn Martin from the University of Tasmania in Australia, have shared one of this year’s Ig Nobel awards for research that explained how and why Australian wombats do cubed poo.

The poo project was led by Patricia Yang from Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, who became a two-time winner at the Igs.

The team, along with David Hu and Alexander Lee from the Georgia Institute of Technology, worked with colleagues from the US, Taiwan, New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK on the study, which was presented to no less than the American Physical Society last November – and reported in Cosmos.

Now it is one of 10 winners of the tongue-in-cheek yet prestigious awards respected for honouring research that “first makes people laugh, and then makes them think”.

Other research to triumph included work looking at which parts of the body are most pleasurable to scratch, how much saliva a typical five-year-old produces in a day, whether a man’s testicles are the same temperature, and if you can train surgeons with techniques usually reserved for dogs.

You can see the full list of winners and their work here.

And if you have a couple of hours to spare you can watch the full award ceremony from Harvard University below.

  1. https://www.improbable.com/
  2. https://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/DFD18/Session/E19.1
  3. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/the-industrial-potential-of-wombat-poo
  4. https://www.improbable.com/
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