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The Ig Nobel Prizes: The Annals of Improbable Research

Marc Abrahams

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Orion

Published : 2003

Copyright : Marc Abrahams 2003

ISBN-10 : PB 0-7528-4261-7
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-7528-4261-5

Publisher's Write-Up

A side-splitting compendium that pays tribute to those individuals whose achievements cannot or should not be reproduced.

Everyone knows about the Nobel Prizes, those prestigious awards that recognize the world's most talented and innovative minds. Unfortunately, not all of the hopeful thinkers and academics around the globe can become Nobel Laureates, but some are lucky enough to win the esteemed Ig Nobel Prize instead. Their unbelievable accomplishments are now documented in glorious detail in The Ig Nobel Prizes: The Annals of Improbable Research.

Drawn from the world's wackiest actual achievements in science, economics, and peace, The Ig Nobel Prizes demonstrates the extreme measures people will take in the quest for knowledge. Read about the professor who proved that toast falls buttered-side-down more often than not, and the Southern Baptist Church of Alabama, which devised a formula to determine how many Alabamans will go to Hell.

This hilarious book features these endeavors and many more, along with photographs from the annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremonies at Harvard University. An entertaining exhibition of brains and determination, The Ig Nobel Prizes is ideal for anyone who first wants to laugh and then wants to think.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Paul Lappen (190304) Rating (9/10)

Review by Paul Lappen
Rating 9/10
This book brings together two areas of human endeavour that don't normally go together: science and humour. The Ig Nobel Awards (actually held every year at Harvard University) honour those achievements that "cannot or should not be reproduced."

Did you know that elevator music may help prevent the common cold? Companies like Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco, Waste Management and WorldCom shared an award for adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in the business world. A man from Lithuania created an amusement park called Stalin World. To save money, the British Royal Navy has barred trainees at its top gunnery school from firing live shells and ordered them to shout "bang." It has been determined that, bio-chemically, romantic love may be indistinguishable from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. A college professor from Pennsylvania fed Prozac to clams (at the cellular level, clams and humans show remarkable nervous system similarities), resulting in a whole lot of reproducing going on. A man from France is the only winner of two Ig Nobels, for demonstrating that water has a memory, and that the information can be transmitted over the phone and the Internet.

Then there are the "classics," like the scientific investigation of why toast often falls on the buttered side; an Australian man who patented the wheel, and the Australian Patent Office who granted it; a man from Arizona who invented software that detects when a cat is walking across your keyboard; the Southern Baptist Church of Alabama for their county-by-county estimate of how many Alabama citizens will go to hell if they don't repent; the sociology of Canadian donut shops, and the optimal way to dunk a biscuit. Last but not least, a solution has been found to the age-old problem of how to quickly start a barbecue. It can be done in less than four seconds with charcoal – and liquid oxygen.

This book is hilarious. It's humour of a slightly more highbrow variety, designed to make people laugh, then think. It's highly recommended for everyone, even those who think that they hate science.
Paul Lappen (19th March 2004)

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