Now reading: 11 hilariously bizarre winners of the Ig Nobel Prize

Take a self-guided tour from quantum to cosmos!

11 hilariously bizarre winners of the Ig Nobel Prize

Somewhat less prestigious than the Nobel Prize, but much more hilarious, the Ig Nobel Prize annually lauds research worth commemorating for its weirdness.

Levitating frog on light blue background

The Nobel Prize is the most prestigious prize in science, awarded each year since 1901 to researchers who have expanded our understanding of the world.

The Ig Nobel Prize is the mischievous evil twin of the Nobel, awarded each year since 1991 – though the first one in physics came a year later – to researchers who have expanded the outer fringes of scientific pursuit (for example, why wombat poop is cube-shaped).

Marc Abrahams, founder of the Ig Nobel, says the awards are for achievements that “have that quality of first making people laugh, and then making them think.”

Here’s a look at some of our favourite examples of weird science to have won the dubious honour of an Ig Nobel Prize in Physics.


Close up shot of brown egg shells and cold fusion atom


Piece of toast face down with red jam splattered out from underneath it


Close up shot of a flaming ball of garbage


Two teapots facing each other spilling tea from the spout


Brown frog laying face down in a bowl


Close up of a full stein of brown beer


Woman wearing wind breaker and shorts using a hula hoop


Side profile of a pregnant woman in overalls pointing to her right


Close up shot of person wearing pink shoes stepping on a banana peel


Fluffy orange and brown kitten beside a blue and green liquid version of the kitten


Close up shot of a wombat walking on the grass


Perimeter students, researchers, and staff share their experiences in celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

/Feb 08, 2021

Physicists: they walk among us. That’s obviously true at Perimeter, but what many people don’t realize is that people with degrees in physics go on to do a vast array of things.

/Oct 02, 2015

EinsteinPlus helps teachers bring modern physics concepts to life in classrooms around the world. 

/Aug 22, 2016