As we tidy up, having moved the entire Improbable site to a new host, please pardon our smattering of dead links, detritus, and well-aged-whatnot. Most of the big parts are gamboling, but it might take a while to rehab some of the vast archival tunnels, galleries, and wormholes accumulated over three decades.
The 32nd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will happen (as in 2020 and 2021, in deference to the lurking ambitions of Covid-19) entirely online, on Thursday, September 15, 2022. Ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners will be introduced. Each has done something that makes people LAUGH, then THINK. Details are on the ceremony web page.
The folks at Today I Found Out take a look at the Ig Nobel Prize-winning Pitch Drop Experiment: The 2005 Ig Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to John Mainstone and the late Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland, Australia, for patiently conducting an experiment that began in the year 1927 — in which a glob of congealed black tar […]
Mystery abounds, in little ways, in the industries that supply chemicals. Derek Lowe, writing in Chemical World, opens the curtain on some of those mysteries: So the world of chemical supply is far from straightforward, and it can be affected in unpredictable ways. The last two years have illustrated some of these… The complications become […]
Alyssa Pelish writes about the difficult cases handled by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Pelish’s essay, called “The Bureau of Hards“, appears in the Fence blog. Close attention is paid there to a modest experiment: Indeed, an experiment run in 2000 by a group affiliated with the eccentrics behind the annual Ig Nobel Prize found that […]
Tom Gill alerted us to this study, saying “I’ve been a geology nerd for fifty-plus years. I was today years old when I learned that a type of rocks exists which is officially named… rauks.” The study is: “Limestone Sea Stacks (Rauks) Record Past Sea Levels and Rocky Coast Evolution in the Baltic Sea (Gotland […]
The Ig Nobel Prizes have again turned up in a crossword puzzle, this time as an answer in the August 2, 2022 puzzle in the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. The clue for one of the down words is: 23 ___ Satiric Science Prize for “research that makes people laugh then think” By our […]
There’s something for almost everyone in this new study about an adventure involving ringtones and frog-eating bats: “Long-Term Memory in Frog-Eating Bats,” M. May Dixon, Patricia L. Jones, Michael J. Ryan, Gerald G. Carter, and Rachel A. Page, bioRxiv, 2022. The authors report: We captured 49 wild adult T. cirrhosus, individually marked them, and trained […]
Briget and Chris Hart have been part of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony for quite a while now. In the pre-pandemic years, they would journey from their home in Florida to be part of the audience at Sanders Theatre, on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During the pandemic years, they have proudly and […]
We cannot help recommending this English language lesson, by Joey쌤, titled “중학교 3학년 천재(정사열) Lesson 3 Laugh First and Then Think : The Ig Nobel Prize 본문 해설“. It is intended primarily for Korean speakers:
Dr. Andy Wai Kan Yeung (pictured here, below) of the University of Hong Kong analyzed several years’ worth of Ig Nobel Prize-winning studies. He published a paper telling how he did it, and what he found. You can download the paper. Here’s the citation: “Not just nickel-and-dime: An analysis of journal articles winning Ig Nobel […]