A study testing the temperature of French postmen’s testicles has won the Ig Nobel International prize for anatomy.
The awards are given an annual for discoveries that “make you laugh then make you think” – research that may seem trivial but can have a practical purpose.
Researchers at the University of Toulouse attached thermometers to the testicles of male French postal workers to see if they remained the same temperature throughout the day.
The study found the left testicle is slightly warmer than the right but only when the subject is wearing clothes.
The authors of the report, Roger Mieusset and Bourras Bengoudifa, did not outline why postal workers were the ideal test subjects but conducted a follow up experiment on 11 bus drivers.
Testicle temperature can have an impact on a man’s fertility because high or low temperatures can damage sperm. Dr Mieusset is a male fertility specialist.
Other awards included the medicine prize for an investigation into whether pizza can protect against heart attacks if the pizza is made and eaten in Italy and the peace prize awarded to a study which tried to measure the pleasureability of scratching an itch.
The awards have been hosted annually since 1991 by the scientific humour magazine the Annals of Improbable Research and the winners are presented with their awards at the Sanders Theater at Harvard University in the US.