Fingers on chalkboard

The wild and wacky–and even useless–is honored annually at the Ig Nobels. Here’s an article about just a few of those “honored.”

The sound sets teeth on edge, makes skin crawl and sends a shiver down the spine. Just thinking about it gives some people the heebie-jeebies.

But what is it about the sound of fingernails scratching on a blackboard that elicits such a universal reaction?

Randolph Blake and two colleagues think they know – the sound’s frequency level.

Their research has earned them an Ig Nobel, the annual award given at Harvard University by Annals of Improbable Research magazine for weird, whacky and sometimes worthless scientific research.

This year’s winners include a doctor who put his finger on a cure for hiccups; two men who think there is something to the old adage that feet smell like cheese; and researchers who discovered that dung beetles won’t tuck in to just any old pile of . . . well, dung.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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