If the aim was publicity, it worked.
This year’s Ig Nobel Awards went to research which found Coca Cola is a spermicide and another project which found it isn’t a contraceptive.
Deborah Anderson had heard the urban legends about the contraceptive effectiveness of Coca-Cola products for years. So she and her colleagues decided to put the soft drink to the test. In the lab, that is.
For discovering that, yes indeed, Coke was a spermicide, Anderson and her team are among this year’s winners of the Ig Nobel prize, the annual award given by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine to oddball but often surprisingly practical scientific achievements.
. . . Anderson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston University’s School of Medicine, and her colleagues found that not only was Coca-Cola a spermicide, but that Diet Coke for some reason worked best. Their study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1985.
“We’re thrilled to win an Ig Nobel, because the study was somewhat of a parody in the first place,” Anderson said, adding she does not recommend using Coke for birth control purposes.
A group of Taiwanese doctors were honoured for a similar study that found Coca-Cola and other soft drinks were not effective contraceptives. Anderson said the studies used different methodology.
A Coca-Cola spokeswoman refused comment on the Ig Nobel awards.
Other awards went to a study which found price makes a difference to the effectiveness of fake medicines; that crunchier crisps taste better; and that exotic dancers earn more when they’re most fertile.
You can read more details of those projects by following the link at the top of the post.
The full list of prize winners is here.