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Improbable TV


Mel says:
&nbsp “It’s swell.”

We conjured some short videos about improbable things people have researched or done. Many organizations have produced
documentaries and news reports about Improbable Research and about the Ig Nobel Prizes. You can find some or all of those here. (Elsewhere on this web site, you can find the
archive of Ig Nobel ceremonies and broadcasts.)

Documentaries about Improbable Research and the Ig Nobel Prizes

Journalists and documentary makers have pointed many cameras at Improbable Research projects and/or Ig Nobel Prize winners and things. Here are some of the resulting videos.


Ig Nobel Documentary
by FLC Concepts
in French, and in Swedish
2 min. Trailer (in English)

The Improbable Video Series

Our series of tiny bits-and-pieces videos peeks at improbable research — research that makes people laugh, then think. Here, below,
is a skimpy guide to these little videos. We might make some more.

Get notified whenever there’s a new episode by subscribing to the
Improbable Research channel on YouTube. It’s free.


Related Links: The net, the flea, the duck and its lover
Related Links: Bedding, functions, and nails
Related Links: Cuticles, and two reactions


Related Links: Tea, a resume, chairs
Related Links: Shot, history
Related Links: Swallowing, storage
Bonus Links:
Swallowing, storage
Related Links: Incompetence, claw, claw


Related Links: Cake, wrap, calculate

Related Links: Burnt, food, slipping socks


Related Links:
Date, nut
Related Links: Coca-Cola, Classic
Bonus Links: #1, #2
Related Links:


Related Links:
Random digits
Related Links:
Swear words
Related Links:
Related Links:


Related Links:
Big Bank Opera Act 1 rehearsal.
Bonus Links: #1, #2, #3
Related Links:
Big Bank Opera Act 3 rehearsal.
Bonus Links: 1 2 3
Related Links:
Professor Lipscomb demonstrates how to tie a string tie.
Bonus Links: 1 2
Related Links:
2009 Ig Nobel Ceremony Act 1.
Bonus Links: Maria Ferrante, Ben Sears


Related Links:
2009 Ig Nobel Ceremony Act 2.
Bonus Links: Maria Ferrante, Ben Sears
Related Links:
2009 Ig Nobel Ceremony Act 3.
Bonus Links: Maria Ferrante, Ben Sears
Related Links:
2009 Ig Nobel Ceremony Act 4.
Bonus Links: Maria Ferrante, Ben Sears




The McGonagall Experiments

Some poets, and some poems, are remembered long after they have died. William Topaz McGonagall is the false-gold standard against which all other are measured.



Our YouTube channel

Get notified whenever there’s a new episode by subscribing to the
Improbable Research channel on YouTube.
It’s free and contains even more videos than you’ll find on this page


Occasionally-Asked Questions about occasionally watching
the Improbable web series

What are these things?

These are experiments that we hope will lead you — and us — to interesting places. Most are three-minute
videos about research that makes people laugh, then makes them think. Each episode is composed of one or several
bits and people from the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, from
Ig Nobel Prize lectures and ceremonies and other live events, and from many
other sources. We have been collecting this material for almost twenty years.

CONTENT: Mostly, it’s about science, technology, and medicine. And people.

FORMAT: In some episodes, the format is, roughly speaking, similar to Monty Python. But the content is all real.
An episode may be about one idea. Or it may have several different threads, which may or may not be related. Some
threads, and some people, recur in later episodes; some don’t.

What’s the point?

There are two goals — to make people laugh, and to get them curious about all kinds of things they might otherwise overlook.

What’s the range of topics?

All branches of science, technology, medicine, history, language, art, and lots more.

What can I expect in a typical episode?

This, that, and bits of anything. Take a look.

Why does each episode tell only part of a story (or parts of several stories)?

These videos make people wonder about all sorts of bizarre things. In the tradition of
Perils of Pauline,
they often leave you hanging at a most intriguing moment. So… how can you learn what happens to the people and
topics in a particular episode? Through the magic of the Internet, of course. For each episode, we provide a
small number of links to these people and topics. (Why a small number? The better, we hope, to entice you,
rather than overwhelm you.)

Who makes these things?

The Improbable Research people — the same people who produce the magazine,
the annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, the web site (and
, the monthly newsletter mini-AIR and the
weekly Improbable Research newspaper column.

Who’s in the episodes?

Lots of scientists, of many ages, of at least two sexes, from many countries. Some are famous, many are not.
There are also journalists, children, just plain people, and now and again some singers and musicians. And Mel.

Is it all brand new material?

Some is new, and some is old stuff that’s been seldom seen or even heard of. All of it is surprising and (we hope) hard to stop thinking about.

Is it okay to make copies?

Yes. These episodes have a Creative Commons license (Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives)
We encourage you to make and distribute copies.

How can I get more info about an episode?

The web site has links, for each episode, about the people and
things in that episode. We encourage the special sites to provide links (either these or others of their choosing), too.

How can I subscribe?

If you’re familiar with RSS feeds, you can subscribe to ours
here. This will not only give you all the Improbable TV you’re looking for,
but also, all the other Improbable blog content.

If you’d prefer to
just receive notifications of new episodes, you can subscribe to our channel on YouTube. Just go to and click the yellow
“Subscribe” button on the left side of the page. If you don’t already have a free YouTube account, you’ll
need to sign up for one first.

Further Questions?

Questions about the videos: You can ask us
Questions about anything technical: You can ask Julia Lunetta, the Improbable webmaster


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