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Ukrainian scientists receive Ig Nobel Prize in Physics for studying effects of vibrations on earthworms

This year, the Ig Noble Prize committee honored a study by two Ukrainian scientists – the physicist Ivan Maksymov and mathematician Andriy Pototskiy, as reported by Ukrayinska Pravda.

The prize-winners studied the effects of vibrations on live earthworms. They learned that worms respond to vibrations much as water drops do. More details on their research can be found here.

A description of the study says that the scientists tested the effects of vibrations on four earthworm species. As a result, they discovered that vertical vibrations give rise to subharmonic Faraday waves (the waves on the surface of the liquid that arise due to the vibration of the reservoir) in earthworms.

This, in turn, may be explained by the fact that earthworms have a hydrostatic skeleton with flexible skin and a body cavity predominantly filled with liquid.

The Ig Nobel Prize, parodying the Nobel Prize, has been awarded to scientists since 1991. It celebrates the most nonsensical and funny pieces of scientific research globally. The motto of the award is “Honoring achievements that first make people laugh and then make them think.”

Some of the award-winning works had studied how to treat diseases with pizza, analyzed wombats’ cubic feces, and hypothesized about cats being liquid.

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