Cat Classification Research Wins Ig Nobel Prize for French Physicist
A physicist has been awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for his study on whether cats should be classified as liquids or solids. The annual Ig Nobel Prizes celebrate scientific achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think."
The study, conducted by Marc-Antoine Fardin of the University of Lyon in France, examined the physical characteristics of cats and compared them to the properties of liquids and solids. Fardin found that cats possess qualities of both, leading him to argue that they should be classified as a "liquid with a yield stress."
The yield stress of a substance is the point at which it becomes solid, and Fardin found that cats can take on the shape of their container like a liquid, but also have the ability to maintain their own shape like a solid. This unique behavior has been observed in other non-Newtonian fluids, such as cornstarch and ketchup.
While the study may seem humorous, it has important implications for understanding the behavior of complex materials. Fardin's research could be applied to the development of new materials that possess similar properties, such as self-healing materials that can take on different shapes.
The Ig Nobel Prize, now in its 31st year, honors research that "cannot or should not be replicated." The prize is awarded by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research and has been given to scientists and researchers for a wide range of studies, including the development of a wasabi alarm to wake up sleeping people and the discovery that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.
Fardin's study on whether cats are liquids or solids highlights the creativity and innovation that can arise from asking unusual questions and looking at everyday objects in new ways. While the study may not have practical applications, it serves as a reminder of the importance of curiosity and the value of exploring unconventional ideas in science.
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