The Journal of Improbable Research has handed out its annual Ig Noble prizes – meant as a whimsical counterpart to next week’s Nobel prizes.
Ig Nobel is a play on the name of the original inventor. In English the word ignoble also means of low birth or not honourable.
A team from Japan took home the chemistry award, for inventing a fire alarm powered by the pungent smell of wasabi.
A prize also went to a group of researchers who discovered that a certain type of beetle in Australia likes to mate with beer bottles.
The mayor of Vilnius in Lithuania won the Ig Nobel peace prize, for demonstrating how the problem of illegal parking can be solved by running cars over with an armoured car.