The Hair of Dr. Notkin

Dr. David Notkin and his fully robust beard have joined the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS). You can see Dr. Notkin’s photograph and credentials at the LFHCfS home page. NOTICE: All LFHCfS member who will be in the Seattle area on Friday night, February 13, are invited to come to the Improbable Research […]

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Filth-in-Foods Paeans

Here are two new Filth-in-Foods paeans. They were composed in tribute to Sidebottom’s classic ‘Fundamentals of Microanalytical Entomology: A Practical Guide to Detecting and Identifying Filth in Foods.’ These paeans are part of an ongoing project that was introduced in mini-AIR 2004-01. INVESTIGATOR HEATHER HEWITT: Olsen, Sidebottom, and Knight Endeavor to help shine a light […]

Eric Lander’s Nano-Lecture

The most nanoscopically sweeping and comprensive — and according to some critics, the most impassioned — Nano-Lecture delivered at the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was by Eric Lander, on the topic THE GENOME. See it here. This is the fifth of the five Nano-Lectures weve posted. All five of the Nano-Lectures can be heard […]

Portfolio of a Genius

The new version of Portfolio of a Genius has just arrived. For the better part of a decade, we have been receiving the laboriously crafted, increasingly thick versions of this wondrous work. They arrive in our mailbox at the post office, always unanticipated, always surprising by their very existence. The author, James E. Shepherd, Jr. […]

Garlic on the Family

‘This study assessed the effects of the odour and ingestion of garlic bread on family interactions.” With those opening words, Alan R Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, in Chicago, Illinois, declared the purpose and the breadth of his research. So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian. Read […]

Mad Cow / Opera

Is mad cow disease a tragedy of operatic scale? Not yet, but it is of mini-operatic scale. “The Brain Food Opera,”a mini-opera in 3 acts, was performed at the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony. The entire libretto is here, and you can hear the perfomance by listening to NPR Science Friday’s broadcast of the ceremony, […]

Woof, Quack (Ig)

Kees Moeliker, who won the 2003 Ig Nobel Biology Prize for documenting the first scientifically recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck, published a photo-rich diary of his Ig experience. See it here. Aline McKenzie of the Dallas Morning News personally tested Bow-Lingual, the automatic dog-to-human-language translation device, the inventors of which received […]

Professor Lipscomb’s Nano-Lecture

At the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, Nobel Laureate William Lipscomb delivered an especially animated Nano-Lecture, on the topic CHEMISTRY. See it here. This is the third of the five Nano-Lectures we’ll be posting. The Nano-Lecture recalled Mike Stanfill’s magnificent tribute to Tom Lehrer, which was part of the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.