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Are there practical applications? You could design a better coffee cup by using what Krechetnikov calls “a series of annular ring baffles arranged around the inner wall of the container to achieve sloshing suppression,” although those solutions are impractical.

“We just wanted to satisfy our curiosity and, given the results, to share what we learned with the scientific community through peer-reviewed literature,” he said.

The 22nd annual Ig Nobels ceremony, with the theme “The Universe,” featured the usual doses of zaniness, including the traditional launching of hundreds of paper airplanes and the world premiere of an opera entitled “The Intelligent Designer and the Universe,” about an insane wealthy man who bequeaths his fortune to have someone design a beautiful dress for the universe.

“Personally, this goes along with my view of science,” Krechetnikov said. “There should be a fun side to it.”

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Online: Ig Nobels, http://www.improbable.com