Scientists who discovered the inner workings of dog fleas, crisps and tangled string swept the tongue-in-cheek 2008 Ig Nobel Prizes.
The awards, a light-hearted alternative for otherwise serious researchers to Scandinavia's Nobel Prizes, were presented at Harvard University, in Massachusetts.
More than 1,000 people, including seven of the 10 laureates, attended a ceremony that in truly irreverent spirit featured sword-swallowing, paper airplanes, and a eight-year-old girl tasked with stopping boring speeches.
The biology prize went to a team of three French scientists, from the Ecole National Veterinaire de Toulouse, who established that fleas living on dogs jump further than those resident on cats - 20 centimetres further, on average.
Potentially more controversial was the work of an Italian-British duo who won the nutrition prize for their study "Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Chips."
The ground-breaking work first published in the Journal of Sensory Studies involved "electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher than it really is," Ig Nobel organisers said.
For physics, the Ig Nobels turned to US academics providing mathematical proof that hair, string, or anything else of the kind, will inevitably become tangled in knots - a process termed "spontaneous knotting of an agitated string".
There was even more agitation over the chemistry prize, awarded jointly to rival teams - one from the United States which determined Coca-Cola to be an effective spermicide and one from Taiwan which proved it is not.
No less startling discoveries were rewarded with prizes in the fields of peace, archaeology, medicine, cognitive science, economics and literature.
The Igs event, produced by science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research and co-sponsored by several Harvard scientific associations, declares its aim is to "make people laugh, and then make them think".
Handing out awards was William Lipscomb, the 1976 genuine Nobel laureate for chemistry, also doubling, at the age of 89, as the prize in the "Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest".
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