Weird Science: ‘Ig Nobel’ and Hilarious

Science is serious stuff. Except when it isn’t.

Marc Abrahams and his annual “Ig Nobel Prizes” celebrate the oddball side of science. One past recipient was Dutch museum curator Kees Moeliker, who wrote a groundbreaking treatise on homosexual necrophilia among mallards. (I understand the fowl world was scandalized!)

You get the idea: This isn’t Jonas Salk territory. But if laughter is the best medicine, as we like to say at Reader’s Digest, these professional and amateur scientists, inventors, and diddlers deserve their place in the sun, too. Luckily for us, Abrahams gives them a platform.

And better yet, Abrahams has a new book out, This is Improbable (Oneworld). Included are some past Ig Nobel laureates alongside new scientific breakthroughs. Writes the author: “I collect stories about improbable things, things that make people laugh, then think.” Some of the “improbable things” one can expect to find in this hysterical collection include:

• A research paper on how to pour the perfect second cup of coffee.
• A study on what makes Bobs look especially Bob-like.
• A discourse on whether or not the shape of a CEO’s head dictates the future prosperity for his company.

Science nerds and comedy junkies unite! Your book has arrived.

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