Bee stings, research that makes you go 'huh?' win Ig Nobels Awards 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., Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Bee stings, research that makes you go 'huh?' win Ig Nobels Awards
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A Cornell University graduate student allowed honeybees to sting him in 25 places. A trio of linguists discovered that almost every language in the world uses the word "huh" for clarification in a conversation. They are among the winners of this year's Ig Nobels. The awards honor humorous scientific achievement.
 
Michael Smith estimates he was stung about 200 times during his 2012 honeybee study. He said two of the most painful places to get stung are the nostril and the upper lip.
 
"A sting to the nostril is so painful it's like a whole body experience," he said.
 
Other winners honored Sept. 17 at the 25th annual ceremony at Harvard University included a team of researchers. They found that corporate CEOs take less professional risks if directly affected by natural disasters as children.
 
Real Nobel laureates handed out the prizes, and each winner received a cash award. It is a Zimbabwean 10 trillion-dollar bill, the equivalent of a couple of U.S. dollars.
 
Smith shared the Ig Nobel for physiology and entomology with Justin Schmidt.  He is an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona who devised a pain scale for insect stings.
 
His advice is not get stung by the tarantula hawk. It is a nasty looking wasp found in the Southwestern U.S. with a stinger about a quarter-inch long.
 
"The sting is entirely nontoxic but hurts like the bejesus," Schmidt said.
 
Mark Dingemanse and two colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Netherlands, won the Ig Nobel for literature. They determined that the word "huh" is used in languages around the world. The languages include some of the most obscure.
 
"A system for fixing misunderstandings is clearly a crucial part of language," he said. "'Huh?' is one element of this system. It's the basic error signal people fall back on if all else fails."
 
Raghu Rau, professor of finance at the University of Cambridge, and his colleagues won for their study that found business leaders more directly affected by natural disasters as children took less risk during their careers.
 
Rau uses Apple as an example. The late CEO, Steve Jobs, who lived through a deadly landslide near his home in San Francisco as a child, ran the company conservatively. His successor, Tim Cook, witnessed few fatalities despite regular tornadoes while growing up in Alabama. Cook has made more risky business decisions.
 
"Think of yourself as a member of a board of directors. When you try to hire a CEO, do you want a risk taker or not?" Rau said.
 
As usual, the winners were thrilled with the honor.
 
"Sometimes these crazy things provide a lot of insight," said Schmidt, the bug guy.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is the cash award a Zimbabwean 10 trillion-dollar bill?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (118)
  • alyssan-nar
    10/05/2015 - 10:13 a.m.

    I think the cash award is a Zimbabwean 10 trillion-dollar bill because the bill could have sentimental value to the winners. The Zimbabwean 10 trillion-dollar Bill is also equivalent to some U.S. dollars so they can use the money to spend as well. People would most likely not spend it because it is only worth about eight dollars so they would just keep it for it's value.

  • sydneyw-mcc
    10/05/2015 - 11:24 a.m.

    You get this prize because of the research you have done. In this case for these guys they have done the research of where bee stings hurt the most. They found out that is hurts the most on your nose and the upper lip.

  • alic-nar
    10/05/2015 - 11:48 a.m.

    wow very interesting article!!! :] learned something new today

  • sunl-nar
    10/05/2015 - 12:54 p.m.

    The Ig Nobel Awards seem as if they are pretty hard to earn and are very serious. Though, in reality they are a matter of sometimes humorous awards and scientific research. The bee sting award gave me a tip on what part of my body I need to protect from bees.

  • michaelc-nar
    10/05/2015 - 12:56 p.m.

    That's crazy that he lets honeybees sting him that's really crazy i mean really really really really craaaaaaazy

  • aracelig-nar
    10/05/2015 - 01:01 p.m.

    that must of hurt him alot

  • madalynp-nar
    10/05/2015 - 01:06 p.m.

    They should be proud of themselves they will let bees sting them for an experiment and earned millions of dollars.

  • annac1-mcc
    10/05/2015 - 01:11 p.m.

    The cash award is a Zimbabwean 10 trillion-dollar bill because it is only equivalent to 2 dollars in the United States. They give this as a cash award because the award itself is meant to be laid back and given as a joke to people who discovered/did weird and unimportant things.

  • lukes14-mcc
    10/05/2015 - 01:12 p.m.

    The cash award is a Zimbabwean 10 trillion-dollar bill because it is equivalent to a couple US dollars. They do this because it makes it seems like a lot of money but ends up only being a few dollars. They awards ceremony people do this because it is still some money for their reward.

  • ethane-mcc
    10/05/2015 - 01:13 p.m.

    The real Nobel laureates handed out the 10 trillion dollar bill but its only a couple dollars in the U.S.

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