Ig Nobel Prize Celebrates the Silliest Breakthroughs in Science

Who came out on top at this year's awards ceremony.

ByALYSSA NEWCOMB
September 18, 2015, 12:30 PM
PHOTO: Michael Smith, left, accepts his trophy from Dudley Herschbach, the 1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, while being honored during a performance at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass., Sept. 17, 2015.
Michael Smith, left, accepts his trophy from Dudley Herschbach, the 1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, while being honored during a performance at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass., Sept. 17, 2015.
Charles Krupa/AP Photo

— -- The bizarre method of unboiling an egg cracked the top spot at this year's Ig Nobel awards celebrating the silliest breakthroughs in the world of science.

The chemistry award went to the team that discovered a chemical recipe for partially unboiling an egg. While it sounds silly, this breakthrough could have serious implications for cancer research.

Egg whites are made of proteins that start out with a certain shape. Once boiled, the proteins stay intact but change their conformation. The team, led by Gregory Weiss, a professor of chemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Irvine, were able to reverse the process so that proteins can be recovered and reused.

The big winner for physics studied the duration of urination. You read that correctly.

The group tested the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds with a margin of plus or minus 13 seconds.

Other victors of the evening included the literature prize winners who discovered a variation of "huh?" exists in every language. The economics prize went to the Bangkok Metropolitan Police in Thailand, which reportedly paid police officers to not take bribes, according to science humor magazine Improbable Research.

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