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Book details of 'The Ig Nobel Prizes'

TitleThe Ig Nobel Prizes
Author(s)Marc Abrahams
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'The Ig Nobel Prizes':

Reviewer Koos van den Hout wrote:
This book is another great book from the Annals of Improbable research (a scientific journal about science that can not and should not be reproduced). The book lists scientific research and papers that make you think 'eh? what? why?'. Especially in interesting medical research where papers seem to be published about strange cases seen by medical specialists. There is also more semi-politics, such as the awarding of an Ig Nobel peace price to "Jacques Chirac, President of France, for commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima with atomic bomb tests in the Pacific." The book also tells about the Ig Nobel prices and the Ig Nobel ceremony. A fun read, especially if you do have something to do with science and scientists.

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
Once upon a time, there was a magazine known as the Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR) (cf. BKBSTJIR.RVW and BKSEX.RVW). Reproducibility being the touchstone of scientific utility, it was devoted to publicizing scientific research which either cannot or should not be reproduced. There are some who say that the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) is the continuation of the Journal of Irreproducible Results. There are others who will sue you if you do. Suffice it to say, then, that AIR is either Mad magazine's answer to science or science's answer to Mad magazine, and nobody is quite sure which. The Ig Nobel awards have been given out each year since 1991. The ceremonies are hilarious, as can be seen from the video clips on the Web page at The prizes celebrate terrifically bad science (such as studies into the memory of water), really misunderstood science (such as the illegality of chemical glassware in Texas), just plain bizarre science (studies into the relation of the size of certain parts of the body in relation to the size of, say feet)--and sometimes pure, dogged determination in the pursuit of knowledge whose value we have not yet ascertained. This book outlines the history of, and rationale for, the Ig Nobel prizes, and describes a representative sample of the winning work. My personal favorite has been the study which shows that incompetent people are too incompetent to be able to judge how incompetent they are. I use PawSense as an example when teaching about biometrics, so I am delighted to have a reference work to which to direct skeptical students. And, of course, I am thrilled to note the relatively high proportion of Canadians honored in these pages. Marc Abrahams has done a wonderful job of writing up this material. It's readable, funny, sometimes outrageous, and occasionally poignant. I highly recommend this book to anyone engaged in scientific or technical work. I recommend it to anyone else, too, with the warning proviso from the Electric Company television show: if you're not careful you may even learn something. copyright, Robert M. Slade, 2003 BKIGNOBL.RVW 20030201

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