The 2009 Ig Nobel Prizes are out! They celebrate research of questionable veracity or utility - you know, the stuff the Nobel Prize committee rudely ignores. My favourite study is the recipient of the Ig Nobel Peace Prize. They were awarded it for determining whether it is better be smashed on the head with a full bottle or an empty bottle in a bar brawl.
Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?
Stephan A. Bolliger, Steffen Ross MD, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael J. Thali, and Beat P. Kneubuehl PhD
Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Volume 16, Issue 3, April 2009, Pages 138-142
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
So remember. If you're going to get in a bar fight, pick a fight with a person who's been drinking for quite a bit. Ooops! I originally said just started, but that'll get you glass shards in the brain.