This is Improbable, Too: Synchronized Cows, Speedy Brain Extractors and More WTF Research

Author(s): Marc Abrahams

Mathematics & Science | Staff Picks

Marc Abrahams collects the odd, the imaginative and the brilliantly improbable. Here he turns to research on the ins and outs of the very improbable evolutionary innovation that is the human body (brain included): What's the best way to get a monkey to floss regularly? How much dandruff do Pakistani soldiers have? If you add an extra henchman to your bank-robbing gang, how much more money will you 'earn'? How many dimples will be found on the cheeks of 28,282 Greek children? Who is the Einstein of pork carcasses?


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In 1991, the editor of the journal Annals of Improbable Research, Marc Abrahams, hosted the inaugural Ig Nobel prize ceremony, recognising the achievements of Erich von Daniken, the author of the barmy Chariots of the Gods?, in the field of literature, and of Jacques Benveniste, a proponent of homeopathy, in the field of chemistry. But what began as straightforward parody has since become something more interesting. The purpose of the annual Ig Nobels these days, explains Abrahams, is twofold: to qualify, a piece of research must “first make people laugh, then make them think”.


Laurence Phelan, The Independent 

Marc Abrahams writes the "Improbable Research" column for the "Guardian" and is the author of "This Is Improbable." He is editor of the science humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research" and founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, which are presented annually at Harvard. A monthly guest on NPR's nationally syndicated "Science Friday," Abrahams and the Igs have been covered by the "New York Times," "Washington Post," "USA Today," "Scientific American," and numerous other outlets. He and his wife, Robin, a columnist for the "Boston Globe," live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He's on Twitter @MarcAbrahams.

General Fields

  • : 9781780743615
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : February 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Marc Abrahams
  • : Paperback
  • : 288