IMPROBABLE RESEARCH Shows

Improbable Research Talks & Shows

Click here to see the current schedule of events

Want to make your audience laugh and think? Invite Marc Abrahams to be the keynote speaker at your next meeting or other event.

For special events, Marc can assemble an assortment of Ig Nobel Prize winners and (for special occasions) even stage a performance of one of the Ig Nobel mini-operas.

Contact: To arrange an Improbable talk or other event, email <[email protected]> or telephone (+1) 617-491-4437.


Talks

Marc Abrahams hosting the London show on the 2004 Ig Nobel Tour of the UK and Ireland. (Photo by Kees Moeliker.)

Marc is editor and co-founder of the Annals of Improbable Research, founder and master of ceremonies of the annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at Harvard University, a weekly columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian, and author of several books.

For all sorts of audiences— scientific, medical, engineering, business, or very much none of the above — Marc's talks delve into improbable research from any/all branches of science, medicine, technology and elsewhere.

Audience laugh, and then think. (Disclaimer: What they think is up to them.)


  • Marc's biography.
  • Some press reports. from People's Daily, Stern, The Guardian, Chemical & Engineering News,The Irish Times, The California Tech, Die Furch, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Times Higher Education Supplement, Nature, The Wall Street Journal, CBS News [with video], Genome Techology, MSNBC, The Guardian and The Guardian, Scientific American, Journal of the American Medical Association, the BBC, the Stanford Report, the National Post, the Washington Post, Alternet, The Exploratorium, The Bohemian, the Improper Bostonian, Wired News, The University of Toronto Varsity, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Planeta Humano, the Arizona Republic, Universum, the Baltimore Sun, the Rocky Mountain News, and many other places.

  • Annual Events, Tours, and Such

    VIDEO: Watch the entire 2009 event at Imperial College London. Imperial College always hosts the most elaborate show of the entire UK tour.

    Some Improbable Research events have become annual events:

    • Ig Nobel Ceremony and Lectures. The Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at Harvard, and the Ig Informal Lectures at MIT, happen every year in early October / late September. This began in 1991.
    • Ig Nobel Tours: Ig Nobel winners sometimes gather and do multi-city touring shows. Ig Nobel Tour of the UK has been a featured part of the UK’s National Science & Engineering Week, every March since 2003. [Hosting an event on the UK Tour (PDF).] Tours have swirled through Australia (2004, 2005, and 2007), Scandinavia (2009, 2010, 2012), Austria, The Netherlands, and elsewhere.
    • Improbable Research Reports: A show composed entirely of dramatic 2-minute-long readings from genuine, bizarre studies and patents, recited by an all-star cast of scientists, journalists, and others. [And for adults-only audiences, we sometimes do a special version of this called Improbable Research After Dark.]
    • AAAS Annual Meeting: A special Improbable Research show is always a spill-out-the doors featured evening event at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in February. This began in 1995
    • Science Festivals: Ig Nobel show are a featured part of the Genoa Science Festival (2007, 2008 and 2009), The Cambridge (MA) Science Festival (every year since 2009) and other science festivals.

    At the Dublin event, in 2004, on the Ig Nobel Tour of the UK and Ireland. Photo: Kees Moeliker.

    For more than a decade, a special Improbable Research show has been a highlight of the AAAS annual meeting.

    Read a firsthand Ars Technica account of the 2011 show at the AAAS Annual Meeting, including an explanation of this photo.

    "Last night, I attended an event hosted by AIR for AAAS meeting attendees. It’s a decade-plus tradition of noting selections from previous years. Only attendees who got to the room early got seats, but that didn’t deter people from lining the walls or plopping down on the floor for the duration of the laugh-out-loud event." —Chemical & Engineering News, Feb 2006.

    "At the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2009 annual meeting, the world's largest science gala, Ig Nobel winners and organizers stole the show on Friday.... the Ig Nobel winners and organizers as usual pulled a large crowd with unusual and sometimes stunning performances. Dan Meyer, a 2007 Ig Nobel Medicine Prize winner, demonstrated a 15-inch and a 30-inch-sword swallowing respectively in the afternoon and at night on Friday. A female audience was invited to pull the sword out of his mouth after the performance. As expected, she screamed." —People's Daily (China), Feb 2009.


    Some Past and Upcoming Talks and Shows

    VIDEO: Watch a highlight reel from the 2009 Denmark tour.

    Universities and Schools — Stanford, Caltech, Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, MIT, Columbia, U Penn, Oxford, Cambridge, Michigan Tech, Marist College, U. Toronto, Oxford, Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, U. of Washington, Washington U., Harvard, Columbia, U. New Mexico, Dartmouth, St. Cloud State University, Cornell, U. Cincinnati, U. Maryland, Coast Guard Academy, Drexel, Manchester University, Exeter U., New Mexico Tech, U New Mexico, Smith College, Bryn Mawr, U Chicago, U. Illinois, U. Cardiff, Williams College, Nottingham U., Nottingham Trent U., U. Tasmania, U. Exeter, Curtin University of Technology, U of Portsmouth, Simmons College, Imperial College London, U. Michigan, Michigan Tech, Wayne State U., Wright State University, U. Texas, Texas A&M, U. Illinois, U.C. Berkeley, U. St. Andrews, USC, UC San Diego, UCLA...

    VIDEO: Watch an ABC News interview with Marc Abrahams.

    Medical & Other Research Institutions — National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, NIST, NASA, OTA, Los Alamos National Lab, Scripps, Massachusetts Medical Society, Fox-Chase Cancer Center, Perimeter Institute, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Forsyth Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Lab, Naval Research Lab, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, Siemens, Wright-Patterson AFB, MBL/BUMP Woods Hole, Los Alamos National Lab, ...

    Societies & Meetings — American Association for the Advancement of Science, British Association for the Advancement of Science, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, EuroScience, American Astronomical Society, American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, Procter & Gamble, SWINY, Sigma Xi, International Electron Devices Meeting, Women in Science and Engineering, American Society for Mass Spectrometry, FOLIO Conference, Society Of Automotive Engineers, MENSA, PINC Conference [The Netherlands], Bessensap [The Netherlands], Genetics Momentum Conference [The Netherlands], BIOCAP Canada, Intersociety Polymer Conference, Northeast Assn. for Institutional Research, Chemical Institute of Canada, American Physical Society, Western Psychology Assn. / Rocky Mountain Psychology Assn. Joint Convention, MIT Alumni Clubs, ACUBE, Bay Area Skeptics, Nanotech Initiative Conference, Embedded Systems Conference, City Club of San Diego, Council of Presidents of Scientific Societies, American Vacuum Society, BOSKONE, Cascadiacon, Massachusetts Medical Society, Alpbach Technology Forum (Austria),...

    Museums & Libraries — Exploratorium, Library of Congress, Science Discovery Museum, Franklin Institute, Boston Museum of Science, Nature Museum Rotterdam, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Centre for Life [Newcastle-Upon-Tyne], National Museums of Scotland,...

    Festivals, Celebrations, Cons, Cabarets, and More — DNA 50th Anniversary Celebration (Washington, D.C.), The Hay Festival (Hay-on-Wye, Wales), Genoa Science Festival, Cambridge (UK) Science Festival, Cambridge (Massachusetts) Science Festival, Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, National Writer's Workshop, Cornelia Street Café (NYC),...