Infamous prizes for 2015

One again here are the best prizes ever. This is what “intelligent” scientists do, and they are awarded. Here are the main facts, if you are interested (no joke) you can click on the link at the bottom of the page.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE —  for inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg.

PHYSICS PRIZE — for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).

LITERATURE PRIZE — for discovering that the word “huh?” (or its equivalent) seems to exist in every human language — and for not being quite sure why.

MANAGEMENT PRIZE — for discovering that many business leaders developed in childhood a fondness for risk-taking, when they experienced natural disasters (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and wildfires) that — for them — had no dire personal consequences.

ECONOMICS PRIZE — To the Bangkok Metropolitan Police [THAILAND], for offering to pay policemen extra cash if the policemen refuse to take bribes.

MEDICINE PRIZE —  for experiments to study the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing (and other intimate, interpersonal activities).

MATHEMATICS PRIZE —  for trying to use mathematical techniques to determine whether and how Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, managed, during the years from 1697 through 1727, to father 888 children.

BIOLOGY PRIZE — for observing that when you attach a weighted stick to the rear end of a chicken, the chicken then walks in a manner similar to that in which dinosaurs are thought to have walked.

DIAGNOSTIC MEDICINE PRIZE — for determining that acute appendicitis can be accurately diagnosed by the amount of pain evident when the patient is driven over speed bumps.

PHYSIOLOGY and ENTOMOLOGY PRIZE — Awarded jointly to two individuals: Justin Schmidt for painstakingly creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which rates the relative pain people feel when stung by various insects; and to Michael L. Smith [USA, UK, THE NETHERLANDS], for carefully arranging for honey bees to sting him repeatedly on 25 different locations on his body, to learn which locations are the least painful (the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm). and which are the most painful (the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft)


Origami battery

Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, can be used to create beautiful birds, frogs and other small sculptures. Now a Binghamton University engineer says the technique can be applied to building batteries, too.

Seokheun “Sean” Choi developed an inexpensive, bacteria-powered battery made from paper, he writes in the July edition of the journal Nano Energy.

The battery generates power from microbial respiration, delivering enough energy to run a paper-based biosensor with nothing more than a drop of bacteria-containing liquid. “Dirty water has a lot of organic matter,” Choi says. “Any type of organic material can be the source of bacteria for the bacterial metabolism.”

The method should be especially useful to anyone working in remote areas with limited resources. Indeed, because paper is inexpensive and readily available, many experts working on disease control and prevention have seized upon it as a key material in creating diagnostic tools for the developing world.

“Paper is cheap and it’s biodegradable,” Choi says. “And we don’t need external pumps or syringes because paper can suck up a solution using capillary force.”

While paper-based biosensors have shown promise in this area, the existing technology must be paired with hand-held devices for analysis. Choi says he envisions a self-powered system in which a paper-based battery would create enough energy — we’re talking microwatts — to run the biosensor. Creating such a system is the goal of a new three-year grant of nearly $300,000 he received from the National Science Foundation.

Choi’s battery, which folds into a square the size of a matchbook, uses an inexpensive air-breathing cathode created with nickel sprayed onto one side of ordinary office paper. The anode is screen printed with carbon paints, creating a hydrophilic zone with wax boundaries.

Total cost of this potentially game-changing device? Five cents.

Choi, who joined Binghamton’s faculty less than three years ago as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, earned a doctorate from Arizona State University after doing undergraduate work and a master’s degree in South Korea. Choi, who holds two U.S. patents, initially collaborated on the paper battery with Hankeun Lee, a former Binghamton undergraduate and co-author of the new journal article.

Choi recalls an actual “lightbulb moment” while working on an earlier iteration of the paper-based batteries, before he tried the origami approach. “I connected four of the devices in series, and I lit up this small LED,” he says. “At that moment, I knew I had done it!”