Science is serious business. It is conducted by old men with glasses and white lab coats in underground chambers. It has to do with chemicals and numbers and chalkboards with strange formulas. There is no way that science could ever be fun. And definitely not research papers. While that may hold some truth, if you read through some scientific literature you may be inclined to change your mind. There are plenty of research papers out there on topics as silly sounding as cow farts. We’re serious. Although it is sometimes unclear as to what the researchers were hoping to accomplish, the titles of their research papers are bizarre enough to elicit some good laughs. Many times, of course, studying something like cow farts is actually quite useful (cows are one of the primary contributors to greenhouse gasses) and can help change our world for the better. There are other research topics though, that might leave you more puzzled. In one paper the researchers tried to figure out the optimal surface across which you would drag sheep. We are as confused as you. Apparently, however, somebody thought it would be worth funding and at the very least it gave us a good laugh. These are 25 extremely bizarre research papers!
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Do Woodpeckers Get Headaches?
“Cure for a headache”, British Journal of Ophthalmology, 2002
The answer is basically that, no, they don’t get headaches because they have sturdy jaws and small brains.
Which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of lead?
Although they are obviously the same, researchers at Illinois State University determined that people consistently rated the lead as weighing more.
Is a full or an empty beer bottle better for breaking a human skull?
“Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?”, University of Bern
Apparently full bottles strike with more force, but both can be used to break skulls.
Have people really been abducted by aliens, and why?
David Michael Jacobs. 1992. Secret Life: Firsthand, Documented Accounts of UFO Abductions. New York: Simon & Schuster
The basic conclusion of these medical researchers from Harvard and Temple Universities was that people have indeed been abducted and the primary reason was the “production of children”. We’re not even joking.
How often do deployed US troops get constipated?
Sweeney, WB; Krafte-Jacobs, B; Britton, JW; Hansen, W (1993). “The constipated serviceman: prevalence among deployed U.S. troops.”. Military medicine
A pressing question, this study features some of the most detailed statistical analyses ever performed regarding rates of defecation.