The Sound of Science

Trivia answers coming soon, folks.  Thursday ended up being a bit busier than expected.  For now, enjoy this article about the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize winners, in particular the winner in the Nutrition category who discovered that potato chips taste better when they sound crunchier:

Charles Spence’s award-winning work also has to do with the way the mind functions. Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University in England, found that potato chips — “crisps” to the British — that sound crunchier taste better.

His findings have already been put to work at the world-famous Fat Duck Restaurant in England, where diners who purchase one seafood dish also get an iPod that plays ocean sounds as they eat.

Well, of course.  On both counts.  Who wants a non-crunchy potato chip?  More importantly, who doesn’t need a gimmicky iPod to “enhance” their dining experience?  *sigh*

You can read more about the potato chip study (officially titled The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Chips — and, really, haven’t we all written a similarly-titled college thesis at some point in our lives?  they just happened to have excellent research to back theirs up, unlike my 2am-Thursday-before-it’s-due physics paper on the incendiary properties of Flaming Hot Cheetos, which was only slightly less well-received than my paper on Greek and Egyptian creation mythology from a Judeo-Christian perspective, entitled Greeks to the North of Me, Egyptians to the South, Here I Am Stuck in the Middle with Jews, which despite being geographically accurate earned me a C- from my very unamused anthropology professor) at The Guardian.

They recruited volunteers who were willing to chew, in a highly regulated way, on Pringles potato crisps. Pringles themselves are, as enthusiasts well know, highly regulated. Each crisp is of nearly identical shape, size and texture, having been carefully manufactured from reconstituted potato goo.

Mmm…potato goo.  Happy Friday!