Inspired by Ig Nobel Prize Winner, China Builds a Rising Moon

The South China Morning Post reports, on January 12, 2022, that “China has built an artificial moon that simulates low-gravity conditions on Earth“. The report begins: China has built a research facility that simulates the low-gravity environment on the moon – and it was inspired by experiments using magnets to levitate a frog. Further details: […]

“Egg unboiling machine enables graphene battery development”

“Egg unboiling machine enables graphene battery development,” is the headline in Mining Weekly. The article itself says: The Australian researchers who successfully unboiled an egg are turning their attention to capturing the energy of graphene oxide to make a more efficient alternative to lithium-ion batteries. The Flinders University team in South Australia has partnered with Swinburne University of Technology in Victoria, ASX-listed First […]

What the Frog’s Saliva Does for the Frog’s Tongue

Ig Nobel Prize winner David (“urination duration in mammals”) Hu and colleagues turned their intense gaze toward frog tongues and saliva. They published this study: “Frogs use a viscoelastic tongue and non-Newtonian saliva to catch prey,” Alexis C. Noel, Hao-Yuan Guo, Mark Mandica, David L. Hu, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2017, 14, 20160764. […]

Do Frogs in Helium Get Squeaky Voices? (Podcast #94)

Do frogs get all high-voiced when they breathe in some helium, the way people do? A research study explores that very question, and we explore that study, in this week’s Improbable Research podcast. SUBSCRIBE on, iTunes, or Spotify to get a new episode every week, free. This week, Marc Abrahams discusses a published helium-filled study, with dramatic readings from Dany Adams, a biology professor at Tufts University […]

Urination-duration Ig winner: physics of animals keeping clean

David Hu, 2015 Ig Nobel physics prize winner (together with several colleagues, for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds, plus or minus 13 seconds ) has a new paper out, written with colleague Guillermo Amador. Their institution, Georgia Tech, describes it: A CAT’S SURFACE AREA IS EQUAL […]

Language of science: The Berry Phase begets the Belly Phase

“The Berry Phase” is not the only Berry phrase. Quantum physics turns (in more than one sense) on a concept called “the Berry phase“. The phrase, and in a way the concept, has recently given rise to a name for a phenomenon that occurs in your stomach: “the belly phase“. (Note for quibblers: Yes, quantum […]

A frog in the throat of a frog

A frog in the throat of a frog dominates the discussion in this study: “To have a frog in the throat: micro-CT imaging of anuran prey in Ceratophrys ornata (Anura: Ceratophryidae),” Thomas Kleinteich [pictured here], Salamandra, vol. 51, no. 2, June 30, 2015, pp. 209-211. The author, at Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany, reports: “Frogs of the […]