How to cure an itch, living as a goat, and the personality of rocks - the quirkiest scientific discoveries awarded at Nobel spoof ceremony

Grace Rahman
Follow Grace
One of the winners this year spent time living as a goat (Source: Getty)

Scientists have a reputation for being humourless, but the annual Ig Nobel Prize honours those whose research has managed to both amuse, and make us think deeper about the world around us.

The science itself is mostly serious, with winners usually having had their papers published in respected, peer-reviewed journals.

However, even the most stony-faced of real Nobel winners cracked a smile when the German scientists, who discovered you can relieve an itch on your left side by scratching the right side of your body whilst looking in a mirror, took home the prize for medicine.

Brits won big in the biology category, mostly for pretending to be animals (for the advancement of science, of course). Thomas Thwaites, who built leg prostheses to live as a goat in the Alps for three days was a joint winner alongside Charles Foster, who tried life as, amongst other beasts, an otter, a stag and inner city fox.

Read more: 2015 Ig Nobel Prize winners

This year’s economics prize went to the marketing researchers who wrote a paper on the public’s brand perceptions of rocks, while the reproduction award was awarded posthumously to the Egyptian scientist who looked at the effect of different fabrics on the sex life of rats, by making them tiny pairs of trousers.

Perhaps the biggest laughing stock of the evening was Volkswagen, who took home the chemistry prize for ‘solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically, electromechanically producing fewer emissions whenever the cars are being tested’.

The awards, now in their 26th year, are handed out by real Nobel winners at a ceremony at Harvard University. Usually a raucous affair, audience members traditionally throw paper aeroplanes at the stage throughout.

A complete list of winners can be found here.