Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

Improbable research at AAAS in Washington Saturday night

Monday, February 8th, 2016

You (yes, you!) are invited to join us at the Improbable Research session this Saturday night in Washington DC. It’s part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.

Where/When:  Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St NW, in the Diplomat Ballroom / Saturday, February 13, 2016, 8:00-10:00 pm.

This is the 21st (or maybe 22nd) consecutive year we’re doing a special public session at the meeting. This year, you will meet:

This special evening session is open free to the public. The session always overflows the room, so we suggest you arrive a bit early.

PREPARATION TIP: You may not be familiar with cat videos. Here, for your edification, is a cat video:


How Fireflies Get It On

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Sara Lewis reduced her discoveries about firefly sex to 24 seconds, and then to seven words. She performed this, as a 24/7 Lecture, at the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony:

A year before that, Lewis performed a longer version — about thirteen minutes long — as a TED talk:

Five Japanese extensive interviews with Ig Nobel winners

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

The magazine Tech Notes is conducting a series of extensive interviews with Japanese Ig Nobel Prize winners. Here are links to the first five interviews. All are in Japanese [we present here machine translations of the headlines]:

The Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [1st] research and Kitazatodai Mabuchi Mr. skin of banana and think humor creative ideas of origin?


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [2nd] If you turn off the onion really reason for tears – discovered from where there is no doubt: House Foods Group Inc. Mr. Imai


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [3rd] to silence people talkative! Invention of speech jammer: Tsuda College Kurihara Mr.


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [4th] dog language translation machine “Bowlingual”, the development history of? : Matsumi Suzuki


[Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think 5th] Pigeons distinguish the picture of Picasso and Monet! ? Of human beings to learn from animal psychology: Shigeru Watanabe


“Imagine if the window were made of ants…”

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Ig Nobel Prize winner David Hu researches many questions that involve biology AND mathematics AND physics. And often, fluid dynamics. In this video, he confides, concisely, some of the biophysical ways that ants survive perilous, quickly-changing physical conditions:

The 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to Patricia Yang [USA and TAIWAN], David Hu [USA and TAIWAN], and Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo [USA], for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).

REFERENCE: “Duration of Urination Does Not Change With Body Size,” Patricia J. Yang, Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo, and David L. Hu, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 111 no. 33, August 19, 2014, pp. 11932–11937.

NOTE: David Hu will be one of the stars of the London shows on the upcoming Ig Nobel Eurotour, in March 2016.

(Thanks to Maggie Lettvin for alerting us to the video.)

Colin Raston tells of Un-boiling an Egg, and the Ig Nobel Prize

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Colin Raston tells how he and colleagues found a way to partially un-boil an egg, and of how this led to an Ig Nobel Prize, in this Flinders University video:

The 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for chemistry was awarded to Callum Ormonde and Colin Raston [AUSTRALIA], and Tom Yuan, Stephan Kudlacek, Sameeran Kunche, Joshua N. Smith, William A. Brown, Kaitlin Pugliese,Tivoli Olsen, Mariam Iftikhar, Gregory Weiss [USA], for inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg.

REFERENCE: “Shear-Stress-Mediated Refolding of Proteins from Aggregates and Inclusion Bodies,” Tom Z. Yuan, Callum F. G. Ormonde, Stephan T. Kudlacek, Sameeran Kunche, Joshua N. Smith, William A. Brown, Kaitlin M. Pugliese, Tivoli J. Olsen, Mariam Iftikhar, Colin L. Raston, Gregory A. Weiss, ChemBioChem, vol. 16, no. 3, February 9, 2015, pp. 393–396.

Here’s an ABC news report about it: