Fun Facts

In-vivo biomagnetic characterisation of the American cockroach

Ling-Jun Kong, Herbert Crepaz, Agnieszka Górecka, Aleksandra Urbanek, Rainer Dumke & Tomasz Paterek 

Published the March 23th 2018 – Scientific Reports, volume 8, Article number: 5140 (2018)

IG Nobel of Biology 2019 : Dead or alive cockroaches ? Magnetism matters.

Each year is held the IG Nobel ceremony (Ignoble-Nobel) which rewards off-set scientific research. This year this ceremony, organised by the scientific humor journal « Annals of Improbables Research », was held at the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. In 2019 the Biology prize was was granted to the. (click on the “title image” above to see the article)

Many insects (whose cockroaches) and vertebrates are able to detect the earth’s magnetic field and use it to orient themselves during migrations for example. This research team discovers that after the application of a magnetic field on alive or dead cockroaches, dead animals stay magnetised longer than alive animals. These results can be explained by a difference of the materials and environment viscosity between alive and dead cockroaches.

“Our setup can also be used to infer other physical quantities than magnetic fields as illustrated with the determination of viscosity and volumes using the theory of Brownian motion (magnetorelaxometry). When applied to American cockroaches the method clearly discriminates between dead and alive insects.” Extract from the discussion.

So thanks to LJ Kong et al we know how to discriminate between a living and a dead cockroach in a really elaborate way.