Improbable research is research that makes people laugh and then think.
We collect improbable research. Real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere. Research that's maybe good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless.
Our publications and activities include:
- The Magazine, Annals of Improbable Research (6 times a year)
- The Newsletter, mini-AIR (monthly)
- The Newspaper Column, "Improbable Research" (monthly)
- The Podcast, "Improbable Research" (weekly)
- The Blog (daily)
- The Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony (annually)
- Live events
Our goal is to make people laugh, then make them think. We also hope to spur people's curiosity, and to raise the question: How do you decide what's important and what's not, and what's real and what's not — in science and everywhere else?
"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but, 'That's funny..." —Isaac Asimov
"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." —Sherlock Holmes
The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) is a six-issues-a-year magazine published in e-book form, and also (still!) published on genuine paper. It's packed with genuine, improbable research culled from more than 20,000 science, medical, technical and academic journals. We also publish original research, and some concoctions.
The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that make people laugh, and then make them think. The winners come to a gala ceremony at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre, and then give public lectures at MIT.
Staff: Our staff is tiny: Editor Marc Abrahams, European Bureau Chief Kees Moeliker, General Manager David Kessler, Improbable Facilitator Katherine Griffin, and other improbable individuals. Mostly, Improbable Research is a vast, happy, open conspiracy of many volunteers (scientists, journalists, teachers, students, and all sorts of other people) in many countries.
Improbable Research is produced by the people who founded and organize the annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. (We are also the very same people who from 1955-1994 founded and edited the Journal of Irreproducible Results. In 1994, when the Journal's publisher decided to abandon the magazine, we decided to abandon that publisher. Unable to get use of the old name, we started a brand new publication — the Annals of Improbable Research. And yes, we are AIRheads.)
Offices: Improbable Research is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. In 2006 the Improbable Research European Bureau opened in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Our press clippings are numerous. Dip in for some enjoyable reading. Here is a tiny sampling: Tages Anzeiger, ABC News, Times of London, El Pais, Wired, Banque des Savoirs, Nature Network, The Age, CBS Sunday Morning News [with video], Wired News, The California Tech, El Commercio, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Sport et Vie, The Wall Street Journal, The Star, The Rocky Mountain News, Universum, Journal of the American Medical Association, Alternet, MSNBC, USA Today, CNN [with video], Shargh, Velcro City Tourist Board, ..., and many more.