About Marc Abrahams
Marc Abrahams writes about research that makes people LAUGH, and then THINK. He co-founded and edits the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) and its web site, www.improbable.com and Internet video series, and writes books (including the recent This Is Improbable and the upcoming This Is Improbable, Too), a column for the British newspaper The Guardian, and other things in other places.
Marc is the father and master of ceremonies of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, honoring achievements that make people LAUGH, and then THINK. The Prizes are handed out by genuine Nobel Laureates at a gala ceremony held each autumn at Harvard University and broadcast on National Public Radio and on the Internet.
The simplest way to get Marc to do a talk at your meeting, conference, convention, or other gathering is to ask him. You can also see him do talks and performances in touring shows with Ig Nobel Prize winners — in the UK (every March since 2003, for National Science Week), in Denmark, and elsewhere, including a big show at every Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Marc also sometimes organizes public events called "Dramatically Improbable Research", featuring 2-minute-long dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre research studies.
Marc collaborated with Paris-based FL Concepts in making the TV series Quand La Science Fait Rire.
The Washington Post called Marc "the nation's guru of academic grunge." The Journal of the American Medical Association called him "the Puck of Science." He has been called many other things.
In addition to editing the magazine, Marc writes a monthly newsletter called mini-AIR and a daily blog. He also writes columns for other magazines, discusses improbable research on NPR's "Science Friday" program, and has written the librettos for eighteen science mini-operas that premiered as part of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremonies.
Marc and several Ig Nobel Prize winners are the heroes in a manga in Young Jump Magazine, Japan's most popular manga magazine.
The Improbable Research editorial board of more than 50 distinguished scientists includes nine Nobel Laureates, IQ record holder Marilyn Vos Savant, and a convicted felon.
Marc also writes for other publications, on science, technology, medicine, and other topics. He is or has been a regular columnist for several magazines, including: Cómo Ves (in Mexico), The Harvard Business Review, Zeitwissen (in Germany), Le Scienze (in Italy), Etiqueta Negra (in Peru), the technology magazine Embedded Systems Design, and the engineering magazine Design News, and was the back-page humor columnist for the late, lamented computer magazine Byte. He has also been a commentator for ABC-TV's World News Now and on public radio.
Marc is author of the books The Man Who Cloned Himself, Why Chickens Prefer Beautiful Humans and The Ig Nobel Prizes. He edited (and wrote much of) the science humor anthologies The Best of Annals of Improbable Research and Sex As a Heap of Malfunctioning Rubble (and other improbabilities). These also appear in numerous translations (of which his favorite is Der Einfluss von Erdnussbutter auf die Erdrotation).
In this PBS NewsHour Weekend interview, Marc explains the essence of the Ig Nobel Prizes.
From 1990-1994, Marc was the editor of the Journal of Irreproducible Results. In 1994, after the magazine's publisher decided to abandon the magazine, the founders and entire editorial staff (1955-1994) of the Journal abandoned the publisher, and immediately created AIR.
He also frequently performs lectures that show both the funny side AND the importance of science, medicine, and technology. (Among these events: an annual tour of the UK for National Science Week; and a special public evening session at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.)
Marc has a degree in applied mathematics from Harvard College, spent several years developing optical character recognition computer systems (including a reading machine for the blind) at Kurzweil Computer Products, and later founded Wisdom Simulators, a creator of educational software. Marc is the subject of a Harvard Business School case study called "Marc Abrahams: Annals of an Improbable Entrepreneur."
He is married to psychologist Robin Abrahams, who writes the "Miss Conduct" advice column for the Boston Globe Magazine.
[NOTE: Also see a more detailed version of this, in essay form, that Marc wrote several years ago for The Guardian.]