|Marc Abrahams will kick start the evening with a 20 minute talk all about Improbable Research, the Ig Nobel Awards and related topics. He will then introduce the evening's speakers, and hand over the floor. (This is not the particular order)|
Scrotal asymmetry in man and ancient sculpture
“My talk may discuss the intriguing questions surrounding the fact that the scrotum is asymmetric in men, that artists have long portrayed this, but the ancient Greeks managed to get it wrong, primarily it seems because they privileged theory over observation. But it may also deviate off into other scurrilous areas.”
Study of canine tail-chasing and human responses to it
“When dogs chase their tails it looks frankly ridiculous and rather funny, so it's no surprise that it is widely celebrated in many cultural references. But in the scientific literature the only references were a few cases of dogs that chased their tails so compulsively that they needed veterinary treatment. Studying normal tail chasing seemed near impossible because dogs do it so sporadically, but a quick search of YouTube showed that there were over 3500 videos of the behaviour - a reservoir of data just waiting to be collected. I analysed 400 of the videos to see what circumstances dogs chase their tails in, which breeds do it most, and what proportion of the dogs seemed to be chasing their tails when they were playing versus those with signs that they should see a vet.”
Do hens have friends?
“The benefits of friendships in our own species (and some others) for our quality of life are well known. We investigated the possibility that domesticated egg-laying hens form distinct 'friendships' by examining whether or not individual chickens were particular about who they spent most time with. Discovering the answer to this question can inform how best to promote good welfare for chickens.”
Improbable things | researched for The Museum of Curiosity and QI
To be confirmed.
Question and answer – in the form of flight, get those paper aeroplanes ready