Nobel price & Penguin pooh

As every year, Stockholm and Oslo are welcoming the Nobel price winners. Fluid dynamics and especially turbulence are not within the field of areas, which gave scientists the opportunity to win a nobel price, however some of the researchers spend years on turbulence and then won a nobel price in another area. All the more it pleases me, that there is at least another price, the Ig® (improbable research) Nobel Prize, which enabled a fluid dynamics related area to be awarded. The authors of the work “Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh — Calculations on Avian Defaecation.” (PDF) were among the 2005 winners and present an interesting piece of work.


It is interesting to read and makes me laugh. The introduction reads as follows:

“Anyone who has then watched a penguin fire a “shot” from its rear end must have wondered about the pressure the bird generates, but apparently no published data on the pressures produced exist. Since all penguins are protected and one must not approach penguins closer than 5 m (unless one holds a special permit), direct measurements are hard to come by.” (emphasis added)

Most of the other winners have similar reasonings for their work. There is for instance a papers which aims to calculate “the number of photographs you must take to (almost) ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed” or another one is entitled Fragmentation of Rods by Cascading Cracks: Why Spaghetti Does Not Break in Half” (PDF).

I guess the problem is not to find extraordinary research topics, but rather the financial means to fly around and investigate how other animals pooh.


7 Responses to “Nobel price & Penguin pooh”

  1. 1 Vero December 7, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    I am happy that you spend time finding these funny things so I can read them. =)

  2. 2 timmy December 8, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    There is only one animan that is Pooh. But other animals do poo. 😉

  3. 3 ferramis December 8, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    Hej Timmy,

    The authors are German, so I guess they used one of the old dusty technical German-English dictionaries (see my bookshelf) from the beginning of the last century 😉 But poo or pooh is not technical either, so I don’t know where those Germans checked. I checked few other German-English dictionaries and I found in one: pooh – “kacken” (slang) 😉

  4. 4 timmy December 9, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    Pooh is at least in my mind the creation of A.A. Milne. And since I’m a nice guy my German has never included words as ‘kacken’. I only know the few good words in German.

  5. 5 ferramis December 9, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    Of course you are a nice guy and of course you know only the good words in German 🙂 I have no doubt about that.

  1. 1 How to write a paper? « wAnNaBe NeRd Trackback on February 10, 2007 at 7:49 pm
  2. 2 Pinguinices ;) « Pinguim Azul Trackback on April 3, 2007 at 10:30 pm

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