The winners of the 2017 Ig Nobel Prize, the science awards given to “achievements that first make people laugh then make them think” have been announced, based around this year’s theme of uncertainty. The Ig Nobel’s 27th year saw the announcement of 10 new winners in subjects ranging from physics to biology.
The Ig Nobel Prize for physics went to Marc-Antoine Fardin’s paper, On the Rheology of Cats, which looked into the fluid dynamics of cats in order to determine whether cats can flow like liquids. Fardin observed that: “The wetting and general tribology of cats has not progressed enough to give a definitive answer to the capillary dependence of the feline relaxation time. Fig. 2b gives an example of a lotus effect of Felis catus, suggesting that the substrate is superfelidaphobic. This behavior is usually distinguished from the yield stress that cats can also display, as shown in Fig. 2c, where the kitten cannot flow because it is below its yield stress, like ketchup in its bottle. It is still unclear what physical and chemical properties generate superfelidaphobicity, but a Cassie-Baxter-like model seems plausible.”