In re slipping on a banana peel

Bethany Brookshire (aka SciCurious) attended last night’s Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. Her report (in Science News)  about the physics prize winner, begins:

Banana peel slipperiness wins IgNobel prize in physics

BOSTON — We’ve all seen the cartoons. Bugs Bunny wolfs down a banana and casually tosses the skin onto the floor. Moments later, Elmer Fudd comes racing in, steps on the banana peel and goes flying. The music plays, and Bugs Bunny wins the day again. That wascally wabbit.

No one has ever really questioned this scenario, though few of us have encountered a banana peel in such a dangerous fashion. It just makes sense that banana peels would be slippery if stepped on. But Kiyoshi Mabuchi and colleagues at Kitasato University in Minato, Japan, were not satisfied with mere legend. They decided to find out just how slick that banana peel really is.

In an awards ceremony at Harvard University on September 18, the researchers received the IgNobel prize in physics for the work. The IgNobels celebrate the truly unusual in science, technology, engineering and math. The studies honored by the prizes often make people laugh. But there’s usually serious science behind the quirky studies.

To determine exactly how slippery a banana peel is, Mabuchi and colleagues sacrificed a total of 12 Cavendish bananas, the iconic yellow banana found on grocery shelves around the world….

BONUS: This video shows a person named Henriette conducting her own preliminary tests without any measurements: