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The Nobel Prize will be presented next month and winners for the Ig Nobel Prize were awarded in advance on September 17 at Harvard University. This year is the first time a Taiwanese has been presented an Ig Nobel.

The Ig Nobel Prize is hosted by Annals of Improbable Research, a science humor magazine. It imitates the model of the Nobel Prize and gives out awards to amusing discoveries in scientific fields annually. Though many of the findings seem humorous, they are also thought provoking. Some of the scientists that are awarded an Ig Nobel later go on to win the actual Nobel Prize.

UDN reports, Taiwanese-American David Hu studies fluid dynamics and when his son was three years old, Hu had to take him to the toilet every 30 minutes where his son would spend an average of 20 seconds. Hu was curious why it took such a small body so long to urinate. He went on to time how long it took himself to urinate and found it was also 20 seconds. The scientist thought it was unbelievable because he was ten times his son’s weight and had a bigger bladder capacity, so why did they spend the same amount of time urinating?

The next day, he took some students to the Zoo Atlanta to test the urination of other animals. The students found that the average urination duration of cats, dogs, cows, sheep and elephants is 21 seconds. Even for elephants that have bladders 100 times bigger than human beings.

CNA reports, to match the style of the ceremony and emphasize their research topic, Hu especially wore a toilet lid on his head to accept the award.

According to their research, almost all mammals over three kilograms take around 21 seconds to empty their bladders, whether they are as big as elephants or as small as mice.

Hu explains, one urinates faster if the catheter is higher. He says that if you wait too long for the toilet next time, you should knock the door and remind the person inside that he or she should be able to finish in 21 seconds.

Translated by June and Olivia Yang
Edited by Olivia Yang