Dramatic improbable readings from bizarre research studies, at Arisia on Saturday

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This Saturday, Jan 17th at 12:30pm, Improbable Research will hold a special session at Arisia“New England’s largest science fiction and fantasy convention“.

Brave volunteers will emote brief excerpts from published academic studies and patent documents. (Some of those studies and patents won Ig Nobel Prizes).

The people reading these studies were nominated (and commented on) by attendees of Arisia and readers of this website. They will each, upon arriving at the event, choose an appealing paper (or patent), and dramatically read two minutes’ worth of it. They will then answer questions from the audience, being scrupulously clear about what they do NOT know, as well as what they do.

Excerpted from our Notes for Readers and Audience at Dramatic Improbable Readings:


  • Please arrive a little early
  • There will be a stack of printed, genuine studies. Choose the one that most appeals to you
  • Skim through it, and choose one or more passages that your favorite actor would find delightful to real aloud in some extremely colorful way. Keep it short — enough words to last about two (2) minutes
  • Today, you will be that actor. Treat the words as fantastic theatrical prose — nothing more, nothing less. Perform it in any style you like


  • The person reading this paper to you probably has no familiarity with what they are reading. They saw it for the first time just a few minutes ago
  • After the reading, you may ask questions


  • If you don’t know the answer, say so. If you want to speculate, make that clear
  • Answer any way you like, with just one rule: NO BULLSHITTING

NOTE: If you are a member of the LFHCfS and are planning to attend this event, you are entitled to take a bow, allowing the audience to shower you and your hair with applause. Please let a member of our event staff know that you are a member so we can give you this important moment in the sun (or rough substitute for the sun).