Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The other peace prize

Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.


Beer bottles are often used in physical disputes. If the bottles break, they may give rise to sharp trauma. However, if the bottles remain intact, they may cause blunt injuries. In order to investigate whether full or empty standard half-litre beer bottles are sturdier and if the necessary breaking energy surpasses the minimum fracture-threshold of the human skull, we tested the fracture properties of such beer bottles in a drop-tower.

Full bottles broke at 30 J impact energy, empty bottles at 40 J. These breaking energies surpass the minimum fracture-threshold of the human neurocranium. Beer bottles may therefore fracture the human skull and therefore serve as dangerous instruments in a physical dispute.

Keywords: Breaking energy threshold; Beer bottles; Blunt head trauma

Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine

Also answers to:
  • Why don't pregnant women topple over?
  • Do cows notice kindness?
  • Does cracking your knuckles bring on arthritis?
  • Is there more than one use for a bra?

The Ig Nobels by the Annals of Improbable Research.
Best of the Ig Nobel prizes 2009 - See New Scientist

I think, that better the full bottle in front of me than a full frontal lobotomy.

But the further research into the dropping properties of toast is very instructive.

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