IG Nobel event (image)

4 April 2013 | IET London: Savoy Place, UK

About the event


The 2013 tour will span 15 March - 7 April 2013. It’s all about research that makes people laugh, then think. This will be the eleventh annual tour, in conjunction with the National Science & Engineering Week.

The Ig Nobel show includes Marc Abrahams review of the past year’s improbable research and Ig Nobel Prize winners.

Several Ig Nobel winners, and other scientists who have done things just as improbably impressive, will try to explain what they did and why they did it, and will field questions. Each show will include a unique combination of individuals.


Tour performers include:

  • Siobhan Abeyesinghe (Do hens have friends?)
  • Charlotte Burn (Study of canine tail-chasing and human responses to it)
  • Chris McManus, Ig Nobel Prize winner (Scrotal asymmetry in man and ancient sculpture)
  • Sid Rodrigues (Demonstration of sitting on the stage, motionless, doing nothing for 90 minutes)
  • Dan Schreiber (Improbable things I researched for The Museum of Curiosity and QI)


Marc Abrahams (photo)

"What should people expect?

"People should expect almost anything: hens and their friends, asymmetrically (but mistakenly!) endowed Greek statues, tales of dogs chasing their tails, and the inside skinny on some Quite Interesting hitherto undisclosed secret things from the Museum of Curiosity.

"That's among other things. Many other things."

Marc Abrahams


Chris McManus (photo)

“I am in no doubt about the importance of the Ig Nobel -- it has none at all, except to reaffirm that laughter, joy, amusement and inquisitiveness underpin the way that most scientists view the world, analyse it, and try to push it to its limits in making sense of it.”

Chris McManus


Siobhan Abeyesinghe (photo)

The concept of improbable research is great. Many of us read a headline about some research and think “Eh?” – even me! Yet some of our greatest discoveries have derived from odd circumstances, accidents and application of what someone else discovered to a completely new context.

"Laughing engages us, it’s beneficial to our health, its social and it means things stick in our minds. We often laugh at something unexpected…but then wonder why?

"This is an opening for engagement between us; I get a night out (!) and have the opportunity to explain my reasons for what seems like an unlikely endeavour….and hopefully more people go away thinking ‘ohhhh, actually that’s quite cool….what else do scientists do?’.”

Siobhan Abeyesinghe


Charlotte Burn (photo)

"I agreed to speak at this event because it's a good chance to raise awareness of findings that could help improve the welfare of dogs in the UK and worldwide.

"Online blogs showed that people were laughing at my research anyway, so this seemed a good chance to explain the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of it properly.

"Research often seems improbable when people have deep underlying assumptions that of course everyone already knows the answer. Either that, or it's a question so odd that it’s a wonder that anyone ever bothered to ask it, let alone answer it.

"But when the research is good quality, you can be sure that the answer will actually be a total surprise and maybe even very useful. Improbable research challenges people's assumptions, changing a laugh to a 'wow' or an 'uh-oh'.

"I hope my research will make people laugh then think, but I just hope it doesn't make them laugh then cry. At least it should help them tell when their dog needs help versus when they can laugh all they like at the sheer silliness of their whirling puppy."

Charlotte Burn