Study of French postmen's testicles awarded Ig Nobel prize

The spoof Nobel prize celebrates weird, odd and head-scratching scientific discoveries.

The study of French postmen’s testicles has won a scientist a spoof Nobel prize.

The Ig Nobel awards, which celebrate weird, odd and head-scratching scientific discoveries, were handed out at an annual ceremony this week.

Winners included Dutch and Turkish researchers who figured out which nation has the dirtiest money, an Italian scientist who studied whether pizza could protect against cancer, and an Iranian engineer who obtained a US patent for a nappy-changing machine.

Ig Nobels
Nobel laureate Eric Maskin at the annual Ig Nobel awards ceremony at Harvard University (Elise Amendola/AP)

Two researchers from the University of Toulouse won the anatomy prize after they recruited French postmen to see whether a man’s testicles are both the same temperature.

Professors Bengoudifa and Mieusset found the left one was warmer, but only when a man has his clothes on.

Representing the UK, Francis McGlone, a researcher at Liverpool John Moores University, shared the Ig Nobel peace prize.

As part of an international team, Professor McGlone helped map out which parts of the body are most pleasurable to scratch and found it was the ankle, followed by the back and forearm.

Ig Nobels
Dr Thomas Michael plays the accordion at the annual Ig Nobel awards ceremony (AP)

He accepted the award via video link, after he was unable to attend the ceremony at Harvard University.

He told attendees: “Thank you very much for this honour. On behalf of all my co-authors, thank you.”

Other winners included an international team who studied how wombats make cubed poo, and a German scientist who found that holding a pen in your mouth makes you happier, because it makes you smile.

The awards were presented by actual Nobel prize winners.

Each Ig Nobel winner was awarded a cash prize of a (now-obsolete) 10 trillion dollar bill from Zimbabwe.

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