Coca-Cola has long known as one of the most versatile drinks around. You can drink it straight or as a mixer for many types of alcoholic drinks: whisky, rum, vodka – all can be enlivened with a dash of ‘the real thing’. Now, however, a new use
The fact that Coca Cola can be used as spermicide was the real sensation of the Ig Nobel awards ceremony held at Harvard on Thursday.
The annual prize ceremony gave the world scientific community a belly laugh, directing the spotlight on itself. Traditionally held in Harvard, it awards achievements that cannot or, more importantly, should not be reproduced.
The Coca Cola experiment was conducted in Harvard Medical School's birth-control laboratory, when scientists Anderson, Umpierre and Hill mixed four different types of Coke mith human sperm to see whether the idea of the drink's contraceptive qualities is true.
The scientists' inspiration came from Puerto Rico. Back in the 1980s Anderson asked one of his medical students what contraception was used in the Catholic school she had attended inPuerto Rico.
The student confessed that “Coca-Cola douches” had played a crucial role.
“Coca-Cola douches had become a part of contraceptive folklore during the 1950s and 1960s, when other birth-control methods were hard to come by,” Anderson told New Scientist magazine, “It was believed that the carbonic acid in Coke killed sperm – and the method came with its own 'shake and shoot applicator.”
Some Russian feminists confessed that a piece of laundry soap was a Soviet alternative to bourgeois Coke.
In the course of laboratory experiments, scientists discovered that Diet Coke killed all sperm within one minute but 41% were still swimming in the recently introduced New Coke.
The scientists shared the prize with a Taiwan specialist who’d come to the same conclusion independently.
After the author of the scientific report “Courtship Behaviour of Ostriches Towards Humans Under Farming Conditions in Britain” won the prize last year, it seems that everything is possible at Ig Nobel.