IG Nobel event (image)

4 April 2013 | IET London: Savoy Place, UK

Who are improbable research


Improbable research collect (and sometimes conduct) improbable research, they also publish a magazine called the Annals of Improbable Research, and administer the Ig Nobel Prizes.

Their publications and activities include:

  • The magazine (every two months)
  • The newsletter (every month)
  • The newspaper column (every week)
  • The blog (every day)
  • The Ig Nobel Prizes (every year)
  • The books
  • The videos
  • The live shows


Why do they do it?

Their goal is to make people laugh, then make them think. They also hope to spur people's curiosity, and to raise the question: How do you decide what's important and what's not, and what's real and what's not — in science and everywhere else?

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but, 'That's funny..." —Isaac Asimov

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." —Sherlock Holmes


The magazine

The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) is a six-issues-a-year magazine published in e-book form, and also (still!) published on genuine paper. It's packed with genuine, improbable research culled from more than 20,000 science, medical, technical and academic journals. They also publish original research, and some concoctions.

Here are some classic articles. Every issue includes our Teachers Guide. If you'd like to submit an article or a letter for publication, please do.


The Ig Nobel Prizes

The Ig Nobel Prizes honour achievements that make people laugh, and then make them think. The winners come to a gala ceremony at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre, and then give public lectures at MIT.


Who they are


Their staff size is tiny: Editor Marc Abrahams, European Bureau Chief Kees Moeliker, and other improbable individuals. Mostly, Improbable Research is a vast, happy, open conspiracy of many volunteers (scientists, journalists, teachers, students, and all sorts of other people) in many countries.

The editorial board consists of fifty-odd eminent scientists, doctors, etc. from aroundthe world, including several Nobel Prize winners and a convicted felon.

Improbable Research is produced by the people who founded and organize the annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.

(We are also the very same people who from 1955 - 1994 founded and edited the Journal of Irreproducible Results. In 1994, when the Journal's publisher decided to abandon the magazine, they decided to abandon that publisher. Unable to get use of the old name, they started a brand new publication — the Annals of Improbable Research. And yes, they are AIRheads.)


Improbable Research is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. In 2006 the Improbable Research European Bureau opened in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.