A study on banana skins and their level of slipperiness has earned a team of Japanese researchers an Ig Nobel Prize for physics.
The team, led by Kitasato University Prof. Kiyoshi Mabuchi, received the award at a ceremony held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, marking the eighth straight year of Japanese representatives receiving the spoof version of the Nobel Prize.
In an experimental study, the team found that numerous microscopic, capsule-like tissues on the inner side of a banana skin that contain gelled substances are easily crushed when the skin is stepped on with a shoe. Lubricating fluid oozes out of the tissues and as a result makes the skin slippery, according to the study.
Mabuchi, a professor of biomedical engineering, looked into the slippery properties of banana skins as part of his research into artificial joint lubrication, in the belief that human articular cartilage and banana skins have in common a mechanism to reduce friction.