And the Ig Nobel Goes to . . .

Coke as spermicide, placebo prices and the ovulation cycles of strippers were just some of the winners at the 18th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony
Teenagers, do not take heed: Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide. Sharee A. Umpierre, Deborah Anderson and Joseph Hill mixed four different types of Coke with sperm (in test tubes, mind you), and found that Diet Coke is the most lethal sperm killer. No sperm was left standing after its wrath. New Coke wasn't so deadly: it destroyed only 59 percent of sperm. Again, we can' emphasize this enough: teenagers, don't not try this in real life. William Lipscomb and Benoit Mandelbrot raise a toast to the winners of the Ig Nobel chemistry prize. Kees Moeliker / Annals of Improbable Research

Laugh first, think later. That’s the theory behind the annual Ig Nobel Awards, which celebrate academia’s most bizarre, irrelevant studies. Past winners have included Dan Quayle, doctors who found that Viagra helps jet-lagged hamsters, and two researchers who proved that sword-swallowing is dangerous. This year’s feature ovulating strippers, intelligent slime and soft drinks that double as spermicide.

Do people actually want to receive these awards? According to Nature magazine, “The Ig Nobel Awards are arguably the highlight of the scientific calendar.” Launch the gallery to see why scientists are so crazy about Ig.