Study of French postmen’s testicles wins international science prize

Study of French postmen's testicles wins international science prize
In between delivering the mail, French postmen have some surprising interests. Photo: AFP
A study of French postmen's testicle temperature has won the IgNobel international science prize.

The annual awards celebrate the slightly lighter end of science by honouring studies and experiments that 'first makes people laugh, then make them think'.

And one of the winners this year was Roger Mieusset and Bourras Bengoudifa from the University of Toulouse.


Roger Mieusset is a fertility specialist who has done a lot of important work, but his Ig Nobel award was for a slightly more bizarre endeavour.

He and his colleague Bourras Bengoudifa conducted an experiment that involved taping themometres to the testicles of a bevvy of French postmen, in order to find out if the testicles were both the same temperature.

Their research showed that on average, the left one is slightly warmer, but only if a man is wearing clothes.

The experiment outline did not explain why postmen were considered the perfect subjects for testing, but added that a follow-up experiment tested the temperatures of the testicles of 11 bus drivers.

Testicle temperature can have an impact of fertility as prolonged very high or very low temperatures can damage the quality of a man's sperm, so it's possible that the Toulouse experiment may yet contribute to helping couples with fertility problems.

Among the other experiments honoured at the ceremony in the US were studied into saliva production, the process of scratching an itch and whether pizzas prevent an early death.

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