Improbable TV

Mel says:
    "It's swell."

We conjured some short videos about improbable things people have researched or done. Many organizations have produced documentaries and news reports about Improbable Research and about the Ig Nobel Prizes. You can find some or all of those here. (Elsewhere on this web site, you can find the archive of Ig Nobel ceremonies and broadcasts.)

Documentaries about Improbable Research and the Ig Nobel Prizes

Journalists and documentary makers have pointed many cameras at Improbable Research projects and/or Ig Nobel Prize winners and things. Here are some of the resulting videos.

Ig Nobel Documentary
by FLC Concepts
in French, and in Swedish
2 min. Trailer (in English)

The Improbable Video Series

Our series of tiny bits-and-pieces videos peeks at improbable research — research that makes people laugh, then think. Here, below, is a skimpy guide to these little videos. We might make some more.

Get notified whenever there's a new episode by subscribing to the Improbable Research channel on YouTube. It's free.

Related Links: The net, the flea, the duck and its lover
Related Links: Bedding, functions, and nails
Related Links: Cuticles, and two reactions

Related Links: Tea, a resume, chairs
Related Links: Shot, history
Related Links: Swallowing, storage
Bonus Links:
Swallowing, storage
Related Links: Incompetence, claw, claw

Related Links: Cake, wrap, calculate
Related Links: Burnt, food, slipping socks

Related Links:
Date, nut
Related Links: Coca-Cola, Classic
Bonus Links: #1, #2
Related Links:
Toad - toe - tapping

Related Links:
Random digits
Related Links:
Swear words
Related Links:
Powdered - mummy
Related Links:
MRI - sex

Related Links:
Big Bank Opera Act 1 rehearsal.
Bonus Links: #1, #2, #3
Related Links:
Big Bank Opera Act 3 rehearsal.
Bonus Links: 1 2 3
Related Links:
Professor Lipscomb demonstrates how to tie a string tie.
Bonus Links: 1 2
Related Links:
2009 Ig Nobel Ceremony Act 1.
Bonus Links: Maria Ferrante, Ben Sears

Related Links:
2009 Ig Nobel Ceremony Act 2.
Bonus Links: Maria Ferrante, Ben Sears
Related Links:
2009 Ig Nobel Ceremony Act 3.
Bonus Links: Maria Ferrante, Ben Sears
Related Links:
2009 Ig Nobel Ceremony Act 4.
Bonus Links: Maria Ferrante, Ben Sears

The McGonagall Experiments

Some poets, and some poems, are remembered long after they have died. William Topaz McGonagall is the false-gold standard against which all other are measured.

Our YouTube channel

Get notified whenever there's a new episode by subscribing to the Improbable Research channel on YouTube. It's free and contains even more videos than you'll find on this page

Occasionally-Asked Questions about occasionally watching
the Improbable web series

What are these things?

These are experiments that we hope will lead you — and us — to interesting places. Most are three-minute videos about research that makes people laugh, then makes them think. Each episode is composed of one or several bits and people from the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, from Ig Nobel Prize lectures and ceremonies and other live events, and from many other sources. We have been collecting this material for almost twenty years.

CONTENT: Mostly, it's about science, technology, and medicine. And people.

FORMAT: In some episodes, the format is, roughly speaking, similar to Monty Python. But the content is all real. An episode may be about one idea. Or it may have several different threads, which may or may not be related. Some threads, and some people, recur in later episodes; some don't.

What's the point?

There are two goals — to make people laugh, and to get them curious about all kinds of things they might otherwise overlook.

What's the range of topics?

All branches of science, technology, medicine, history, language, art, and lots more.

What can I expect in a typical episode?

This, that, and bits of anything. Take a look.

Why does each episode tell only part of a story (or parts of several stories)?

These videos make people wonder about all sorts of bizarre things. In the tradition of Perils of Pauline, they often leave you hanging at a most intriguing moment. So... how can you learn what happens to the people and topics in a particular episode? Through the magic of the Internet, of course. For each episode, we provide a small number of links to these people and topics. (Why a small number? The better, we hope, to entice you, rather than overwhelm you.)

Who makes these things?

The Improbable Research people — the same people who produce the magazine, the annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, the web site (and blog), the monthly newsletter mini-AIR and the weekly Improbable Research newspaper column.

Who's in the episodes?

Lots of scientists, of many ages, of at least two sexes, from many countries. Some are famous, many are not. There are also journalists, children, just plain people, and now and again some singers and musicians. And Mel.

Is it all brand new material?

Some is new, and some is old stuff that's been seldom seen or even heard of. All of it is surprising and (we hope) hard to stop thinking about.

Is it okay to make copies?

Yes. These episodes have a Creative Commons license (Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives) []. We encourage you to make and distribute copies.

Creative Commons License

How can I get more info about an episode?

The web site has links, for each episode, about the people and things in that episode. We encourage the special sites to provide links (either these or others of their choosing), too.

How can I subscribe?

If you're familiar with RSS feeds, you can subscribe to ours here. This will not only give you all the Improbable TV you're looking for, but also, all the other Improbable blog content.

If you'd prefer to just receive notifications of new episodes, you can subscribe to our channel on YouTube. Just go to and click the yellow "Subscribe" button on the left side of the page. If you don't already have a free YouTube account, you'll need to sign up for one first.

Further Questions?

Questions about the videos: You can ask us
Questions about anything technical: You can ask Julia Lunetta, the Improbable webmaster

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!