The Italian Almanac

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walking on water

Moon Walking (on Water)

The discovery that people could likely walk on water if on the Moon, but not on Mars, landed a team of researchers in Italy with the 2013 annual Ig Nobel prize in the physics category.

Alberto Minetti, of the University of Milan, and researchers from Rome's Tor Vergata university, studied just how weak gravity would have to be on a planet for someone to be able to tip toe across water without sinking. "The experiment actually cost very little and it was done using evidence we had gathered from the rehabilitation of patients with limited mobility, such as those with spinal cord injuries or who had suffered a stroke," researcher Francesco Lacquaniti said.

The Ig Nobels, which are handed out by Nobel prizewinners, are awarded to science that first makes people laugh, and then makes them think. Other winners for the 23rd annual award that covers a number of categories included a joint astronomy and biology prize for the discovery that dung beetles navigate using the stars and that mice who have undergone heart surgery survive longer when they listen to opera.