The "Annals of Improbable Research" (AIR) is often desribed as the "Mad Magazine of Science". It is a bi-monthly magazine and an Internet Website. It is best known for hosting the "Ig Nobel" ceremony, honouring real scientists who have conducted funded research, yet whose achievements "cannot and should not be reproduced". This book will cover the Ig Nobel Prizes, their history, some highlights, and the 1996 Awards. Additional material about "Big Science" will include contributions by actual Nobel Laureates and articles that treat real science with a wry spin. The volume closes with suggestions for education and teaching of science, underscoring the need for the educated person to understand some basic science and to nurture the natural curiosity of children when they encounter science. It is for anyone interested in science humour.
"Science is too human, too much fun, and too important not to laugh at it." The Annals of Improbable Research (and its predecessor, the Journal of Irreproducible Results) has been making fun of science and scientists for decades. This latest compendium includes a listing of the Ig Nobel prizes, annually awarded "for scientific achievements which cannot or should not be reproduced," and some of the prizewinning papers, such as "Failure of Electric Shock Treatment for Rattlesnake Envenomation" and "Of Mites and Man." There are also plenty of groundbreaking original studies from AIR: "How Dead Is a Doornail?" "Furniture Airbags," and "The Medical Effects of Kissing Boo-Boos." As the book's warning label states, the result is a highly reactive mix: "Contents are unexpectedly educational and informative, especially in patients who suffer allergic reactions to science, technology, literature, or art. Can be highly addictive." Let the buyer beware. --Mary Ellen Curtin