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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Annals of Improbable Research Goes Digital, Ig Nobel Founder Tells All

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The weirdest and wackiest science on Earth has its own special place in the world of academic accolades thanks to Marc Abrahams, editor and co-founder of the Annals of Improbable Research. Abrahams awards the annual IgNobels, lavishing attention on studies that answer questions no one ever thought to ask -- like, "is it possible to levitate a frog?" (It is.)Now, the Ig Nobel empire is embarking on a new era: In April, the Annals of Improbable Research finally became available on the web. In an unusual arrangement, an annual fee of $25 will buy unlimited access to everyone at any university.


Over the years, the Ig Nobels have gained attention across the globe, attracting up to 7,000 nominations each year. Ceremony attendees range from Nobel Prize winners who fly paper airplanes, to the engineer who did a stress analysis of the strapless evening gown back in the 1960s -- lots of interesting people show up at the ceremonies.


Ig Nobel winners include researchers who examined homosexual necrophiliac behavior in the mallard duck, the multisegmental dynamics of hula-dancing, the courtship behavior of ostriches toward humans under farming conditions in Great Britain and the effect of ale, garlic and sour cream on the appetite of leeches.

Some scientists explored why woodpeckers don't get headaches and what would happen if clams -- yes, clams -- went on Prozac.


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