Michael Smith, a graduate student at Cornell University, allowed bees to sting him about 200 times and in 25 places while conducting a scientific study that concluded the three most painful parts of the body to get stung by a honeybee are the male sex organ, the upper lip and the nostrils.
Smith's odd and painful experience while conducting his research has not gone unnoticed as he was declared one of the winners of this year's Ig Nobels, which honors scientific achievements that make people laugh and think.
For the 25th annual ceremony of the Ig Nobels, which was held at Harvard University's Sanders Theater on Thursday night, real Nobel laureates handed the prizes to the winners who received Zimbabwean 10 trillion dollar bill as cash award. The amount is equivalent to a couple U.S. dollars.
Other winners who were honored at the event included three linguists whose research revealed that nearly every language in the world uses the word "huh" to make clarifications in a conversation.
In a cross-linguistic study, Nick Enfield, from the University of Sydney and his colleagues Mark Dingemanse and Francisco Torreira, from Max Planck Institute for Pyscholinguistics in the Netherlands, sampled 31 languages and discovered all have a word with similar function and near-identical sound as the "huh" of the English language. The trio said that this provides evidence that the word "huh" is universal.
"A word like Huh?-used as a repair initiator when, for example, one has not clearly heard what someone just said- is found in roughly the same form and function in spoken languages across the globe," the researchers wrote. "Huh? is a universal word not because it is innate but because it is shaped by selective pressures in an interactional environment that all languages share: that of other-initiated repair."
Raghu Rau, from the University of Cambridge, and colleagues whose study found that business leaders are less likely to have a fondness for risk-taking if they were directly affected by a natural disaster such as tsunamis and wildfires when they were young, also received recognition.
Rau cited Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs who lived through a deadly landslide near his San Francisco home as a child and ran the company conservatively. Jobs' successor, Tim Cook, on the other hand, witnessed few deaths despite living with regular tornadoes while growing up, and made more risky business decisions.
Photo: Improbable Research