Ig Nobels put catty science in spotlight

Didgeridoo players
Didgeridoo players get together for a jam in Bellbird Park in Australia. (Study Queensland Photo)

Now here’s news you can use: To stop snoring, try playing the Australian didgeridoo.

The scientists who demonstrated that regular playing of the elongated wind instrument could serve as an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring were among the honorees at this week’s Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University.

The “27th first annual” ceremony also paid tribute to research studies that looked into whether cats are best classified as a solid or a liquid (with inconclusive results) and why old men have big ears (it’s complicated).

The Ig Nobels are presented annually by the Annals of Improbable Research and its improbably ingenious editor, Marc Abrahams, who serves as master of ceremonies. They recognize achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. They also serve as a humorous riff on the much more serious Nobel Prizes.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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