Good News! Pizza Might Protect Against Illness—If It’s Made in Italy

The 2019 Ig Nobel Prize winners have been announced.

The 29th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony was held Thursday, September 12, 2019, at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre.

The Medicine Prize was awarded to Silvano Gallus for collecting evidence that pizza might protect against illness and death, if the pizza is made and eaten in Italy.

Other prizes included:

  • Medical Education Prize: Karen Pryor and Theresa McKeon, for using a simple animal-training technique—called “clicker training”—to train surgeons to perform orthopedic surgery.
  • Biology Prize: Ling-Jun Kong, Herbert Crepaz, Agnieszka Górecka, Aleksandra Urbanek, Rainer Dumke, and Tomasz Paterek, for discovering that dead magnetized cockroaches behave differently than living magnetized cockroaches.
  • Anatomy Prize: You will have to click on the link to see the winner.
  • Chemistry Prize: Shigeru Watanabe, Mineko Ohnishi, Kaori Imai, Eiji Kawano, and Seiji Igarashi, for estimating the total saliva volume produced per day by a typical five-year-old child.
  • Engineering Prize: Iman Farahbakhsh, for inventing a diaper-changing machine for use on human infants.
  • Economics Prize: Habip Gedik, Timothy A. Voss, and Andreas Voss, for testing which country’s paper money is best at transmitting dangerous bacteria.
  • Peace Prize: Ghada A. bin Saif, Alexandru Papoiu, Liliana Banari, Francis McGlone, Shawn G. Kwatra, Yiong-Huak Chan, and Gil Yosipovitch, for trying to measure the pleasurability of scratching an itch.
  • Psychology Prize: Fritz Strack, for discovering that holding a pen in one’s mouth makes one smile, which makes one happier—and for then discovering that it does not.
  • Physics Prize: Patricia Yang, Alexander Lee, Miles Chan, Alynn Martin, Ashley Edwards, Scott Carver, and David Hu, for studying how, and why, wombats make cube-shaped poo.

Of note, this the second Ig Nobel Prize awarded to Patricia Yang and David Hu. They and two other colleagues shared the 2015 Ig Nobel Physics Prize, for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).

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