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IgNobel prizes : the annals of improbable…

IgNobel prizes : the annals of improbable research (edition 2002)

by Marc Abrahams

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Title:IgNobel prizes : the annals of improbable research
Authors:Marc Abrahams
Info:London : Orion, 2002.
Collections:Your library
Tags:humour, satire, nonfiction, science, awards

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The Ig Nobel Prizes: The Annals of Improbable Research by Marc Abrahams



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I like reading popular science books that dig deep into something serious like genetics or something. But, a book that digs shallowly into something frivolous like the history and recipients of the Ig Nobel Prizes works just fine for me too. It's light reading, obviously, and some of it is gross, weird, and pretty much all of it is just silly. Which is, probably, what makes it so interesting.

Marc Abrahams is the founder of the awards, so this isn't exactly an impartial look at the awards, and I do like someone else's comment that the book "tr[ies] too hard to make it seem like they don't take themselves seriously". Yep. It's all very ridiculous.

What makes it fun to me is that all of the research in this book has been genuinely carried out, and some of it is surprisingly sensible when you learn about the rationale behind it. ( )
  shanaqui | Jun 21, 2014 |
Fascinating collection of unusual research. It bothers me a little that the winners can be either examples of genuine, accurate, replicable research or just loony stuff. For example, the winners who researched how to whet the appetite of leeches had a real medical reason for doing this and likely the results could be duplicated, but the woman who believes she can subsist on energy from light alone is cuckoo. I better enjoyed the examples that were actual research that just happened to be unusual. (The criteria given for inclusion in the awards include "achievements that cannot or should not be reproduced," but I don't think they strictly follow this guideline, since I think some of the inventions, research, etc., could be reproduced without too much effort or risk.)

I love the whole idea of the Ig Nobel Prizes and especially appreciate all the people who have embraced the spirit of the awards ceremony, winners and spectators alike. It's neat that actual Nobel Laureates jump right in to the festivities too.

I'm going to check out the Annals of Improbable Research website for more on these fun awards! ( )
  glade1 | Apr 7, 2014 |
The Ig Nobels are awarded (with help of Nobel laureates) for silly science.I appreciate the intersection of peculiar or bizarre preoccupations and objects with research that is sometimes useful, sometimes not. The Ig Nobels cover a good range of quirky professional and avocational studies. I prefer these to the awards that, while funny, are more mean-spirited and aren't about research but about policy or writing (e.g., digs at Deepak Chopra or Dan Quayle). Some of the research studies are solid; others make you wonder whether an IRB or any form of oversight was involved. My favorite awards include "The Happiness of Clams" (outcome: They reproduce more with an SSRI) "Levitating Frogs" (more accurately, frogs suspended by electromagnets), and "The Kitty and the Keyboard" (on the development of software that detects when a cat is walking on the computer keyboard). ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
If I were awarding marks to the concept of the Ig Nobel prizes themselves, rather than to this book about them, I would be giving five stars without hesitation. The Ig Nobels, awarded for scientific endeavours that "make us laugh, then make us think" are a fine institution. But aspects of the process come across as a set of overgrown boys games, and some of that comes across in the writing style here.

When it's good, it's very good. The descriptions of quack medicine such as Deepak Chopra's Quantum Health strike just the right tone as does the award for the bizarre Texas legislation regarding laboratory glassware. There's a lot of background material on the prizes themselves, which you may find of interest. But overall, this is best consumed in small doses. ( )
  kevinashley | Nov 3, 2012 |
The author is the editor and cofounder of the magazine, Annals of Improbable Research and www.improbable.com.
  raizel | Jul 4, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marc Abrahamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Farrell, RussellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hasselberger, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Telesca, LeonardDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525947531, Hardcover)

A side-splitting compendium that pays tribute to those individuals whose achievements cannot or should not be reproduced.

Everyone knows about the Nobel Prizes, those prestigious awards that recognize the world's most talented and innovative minds. Unfortunately, not all of the hopeful thinkers and academics around the globe can become Nobel Laureates, but some are lucky enough to win the esteemed Ig Nobel Prize instead. Their unbelievable accomplishments are now documented in glorious detail in The Ig Nobel Prizes: The Annals of Improbable Research.

Drawn from the world's wackiest actual achievements in science, economics, and peace, The Ig Nobel Prizes demonstrates the extreme measures people will take in the quest for knowledge. Read about the professor who proved that toast falls buttered-side-down more often than not, and the Southern Baptist Church of Alabama, which devised a formula to determine how many Alabamans will go to Hell.

This hilarious book features these endeavors and many more, along with photographs from the annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremonies at Harvard University. An entertaining exhibition of brains and determination, The Ig Nobel Prizes is ideal for anyone who first wants to laugh and then wants to think.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:01 -0400)

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Awarded annually by Harvard University, the Ig Nobel Prize honours individuals who have performed remarkably pointless and bizarre scientific research.

(summary from another edition)

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