Improbable research

Every year the guys who publish the Annals of Improbable Research present the IgNoble Prizes which honour research that makes people laugh but also makes you think. The prizes are intended to ‘celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative — and spur people’s interest in science, medicine and technology. One of the winners for Psychology was the classic research by Daniel Simons that showed that people don’t see a gorilla if they are concentrating on something else (you can see the article here but if you’ve never seen the demo look here). Another year the award went to Philip Zimbardo and co-workers for a study on the uniquely simple personalities of politicians. More obscure was a study of group glee and the effect of unilateral nostril breathing on cognition. There are prizes for literature (such as ‘You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations’) and chemistry (‘The effect of coke on sperm motility’). Enjoy!