Constipated Scorpions, Moose Crash Test Dummy Earn Ig Nobel Prizes

It's OK to laugh at these scientific achievements.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
A scorpion underside showing it missing part of its tail along with its constipated area circled.
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A scorpion underside showing it missing part of its tail along with its constipated area circled.

I'm sure you woke up this morning thinking you were going to gaze at a photo of a constipated scorpion.

Solimary Garcia-Hernandez, Glauco Machado

Science as a whole has a reputation for being straight-faced and buttoned-down. The annual Ig Nobel prizes returned in 2022 to remind everyone that science can be hilarious and fun too. The 10 winners of this year's awards covered topics ranging from the love lives of constipated scorpions to a look at how ducklings manage to swim in formation.

The magazine Annals of Improbable Research organizes the awards. "The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that make people laugh, then think," the group says. "The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative -- and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology."

The virtual prize ceremony took place Thursday, and you can relive the hijinks as scientists explain their research and accept their humorous honors. The video is full of delights, like a series of "24/7" lectures in which researchers offer a technical description of their work in just 24 seconds and then deliver a plain-language summary in just seven words (jump to 29:24.)

You can check out the complete list of winners for this year, but I'd like to direct your attention to my favorites. The biology prize went to a study titled "Short- and long-term effects of an extreme case of autotomy: does 'tail' loss and subsequent constipation decrease the locomotor performance of male and female scorpions?" Talk about a scintillating read.

The art history prize went to a paper called "A Multidisciplinary Approach to Ritual Enema Scenes on Ancient Maya Pottery," which seems to tie in nicely with the scorpion work. A thesis on the development of a moose crash test dummy made of rubber and steel took top honors in the safety engineering category. 

Yes, science is serious. Seriously funny.