Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

2019 Ig Nobel EuroTour: Thanks!

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

A big thank you to everyone and everything who (or that) came to, helped organize, or otherwise was part of the 2019 Ig Nobel EuroTour.

It all happened in six weeks, in ten countries: Scotland, England, Austria, The Czech Republic, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Italy (again). Several of the events were webcast, including the big show at Imperial College London:

Here’s a list of all (or at least most) of the 2019 Ig Nobel EuroTour events:

You can read about, see, or hear bits and pieces of the tour, in some of the clips on our press clips page.

Next year (2020)’s Ig Nobel EuroTour

We will soon begin organizing the 2020 Ig Nobel EuroTour. If your institution would like to host an event, please get in touch with us!

Celebrating the Invention of Karaoke

Monday, May 6th, 2019

CBS Sunday Morning celebrates the invention of karaoke—and the awarding, in 2004, of the Ig Nobel Peace Prize “for creating an entirely new way for people to tolerate each other”:

Inventions and Inventors, in Song and History

Karaoke is in many ways an invention of, by, and perhaps for the people. Since the awarding of that prize, in 2004, many people have claimed that they invented karaoke. And perhaps many, or even all of them, are correct. Many inventions have been invented, independently, by numerous people.

One could argue (and some people do argue) that the grandfather of karaoke is none other than Dr. Nakamats, Japan’s (and the world’s) most patent-prolific inventor (with more than 3500 patents, and counting). Dr. Nakamats is himself an Ig Nobel Prize winner. He was awarded the 2005 Ig Nobel Prize for nutrition, for photographing and retrospectively analyzing every meal he has consumed during a period of 34 years (and counting).

(For one of many good introductions to the work and life of Dr. Nakamats, see the movie “The Invention of Dr. Nakamats”, 2009.)

When would you like your Improbable Research Table Talks?

Saturday, May 4th, 2019

We are planning a new series of Improbable Research Table Talks—and we want your advice about when to schedule them!

These events will happen at Toscanini’s Ice Cream, in Cambridge Massachusetts, continuing the series we began last summer.

What: Laugh, then Think

At each Improbable Research Table Talk, Marc Abrahams (editor of the Annals of Improbable Research, and founder of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony) will chat with you about one or another research study that makes people laugh, then think. Some of these studies have won Ig Nobel Prizes; others we have explored in the magazine, in the podcast, etc.

Gus Rancatore (co-founder of Toscanini’s, inventor of ice creams, scholar of many things great and small, and gatherer of intriguing persons and conversations) will co-host the Improbable Research Table Talks.

Cosy, Informal, Brief

These chats will be cozy, informal, and brief, around a table. Sometimes Marc or Gus will bring along a professor, physician, engineer, or other famous or infamous researcher.

Please join us! Bring friends, and maybe meet some new friends.

The Question for You: When?

We want your advice. When—from your selfish point of view, for your personal delight—should these events happen? What day of the week would be most convenient for you? What time of day or evening?

If you have druthers, please get in touch with Marc or Gus, and tell us when would work best for you.

Harvard Business School studies/celebrates Ig Nobel Prize winner Lehman Brothers

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Harvard Business School has a special exhibition exploring the history of Ig Nobel Prize winner Lehman Brothers. Max Reyes reports, in the Boston Globe:

Harvard exhibit details the rise and demise of Lehman Brothers

Before it was a titan in the investment banking field, before it engaged in a form of financial sleight of hand that doomed the housing market, before it initiated the largest bankruptcy filing in US history — and threatened to bring the global economy down with it — Lehman Brothers was a general store.

The fabled firm’s history, from its humble beginnings as a family-run business in Alabama during the mid-19th century to its spectacular collapse on Wall Street in 2008, is on display in an exhibit now showing at Harvard Business School’s Baker Library | Bloomberg Center.

The 2010 Ig Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to the executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money — ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof.


BBC History of the Plastic Pink Flamingo

Friday, April 26th, 2019

“This plastic pink flamingo, an enduring item of kitsch Americana, is as much a phenomenon as it is an everyday garden ornament,” writes Linda Laban, introducing the BBC’s history of the Ig Nobel Prize-winning plastic pink flamingo.

The 1996 Ig Nobel Prize for art was awarded to Don Featherstone, for his ornamentally evolutionary invention, the plastic pink flamingo.

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