FAR OUT FRIDAY: Measuring banana peel slipperiness

by IBO 03 Oct 2014

FAR OUT FRIDAY: Measuring banana peel slipperiness

Although measuring the slipperiness of banana peels earned one group of researchers a 2014 Ig Nobel prize for comical scientific achievements, some actuaries interested in slip and fall exposures would argue such research holds value.

Researchers who measured the slipperiness of banana peels, the ability of pork strips to stop nosebleeds, and the reactions of reindeer to humans in polar bear suits were among this year’s Ig Nobel prize winners.

The Ig Nobel prizes, meant to entertain and encourage global research and innovation, are awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research as a comical counterpart to the Nobel Prizes.

It was a team of Japanese scientists who earned the Ig Nobel Physics Prize for detailing the hazards of stepping on a banana peel in their paper titled ‘Frictional Coefficient under Banana Skin.’

There are a total of 10 Ig Nobel prizes that are awarded annually.

According to Reuters, other teams earned prizes for studying what happens in the brains of people who see the face of Jesus in their toast, how infant poop can be used in the production of fermented sausages, and how pork strips can be stuffed into peoples' nostrils to stop severe nosebleeds.

Ig Nobel prizes this year also went to researchers who measured the relative pain people suffer while looking at an ugly painting, investigated whether cat ownership can be mentally hazardous, and studied how people who routinely stay up late can be more psychopathic.

Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals and architect of the Ig Nobels, was particularly amused with a study by a team of German and Norwegian researchers who tested how reindeer react to seeing humans wearing polar bear costumes.

"I’ve never in my life met anyone who disguised himself as a polar bear to frighten a reindeer," Abrahams told Reuters.