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This Is Improbable: Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens, and Other WTF Research Paperback – September 6, 2012
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--Terry Jones, bestselling author and Python
“Wonderful! The definitive compendium of quirky, jaw-dropping research”
--Richard Wiseman, author of :59 seconds
“Delightful... a pleasure to read in the bathroom and in the bedroom, and the kind of book that makes you seem smarter when you share it with friends (just make sure you wash your hands first).”
--Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational
“Marc Abrahams is a perfectly calibrated filtration system into which all of science is poured and out of which comes pure, giddy goofball delight. This book is a delicious, addictive treat.”
--Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Packing for Mars
About the Author
Marc Abrahams is the editor and co-founder of the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research and a weekly columnist for the Guardian. He is the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, which honour achievements that make people laugh, and then think, and which are presented in an annual ceremony at Harvard University. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Robin.
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Top Customer Reviews
Once again, this book's most important feature, in my view, is the author's continuous tongue-in-cheek and often absolutely hilarious summaries of the research. His careful choice of words to suit each topic is absolutely priceless. Despite the fact that I found some of the research summaries to be rather uninteresting, in many of the other cases I laughed to the point of having tears in my eyes. And it's mainly for these many prize winners that I gave this book a perfect score.
All in all, because the author has ensured that the book is devoid of specialized jargon (unless included for effect) anyone looking for laughs can enjoy this book tremendously, while, as a bonus, learn about how some hard-earned research money is being spent.
The author frequently uses puns, and although they're often considered the lowest form of humor they really add to this book. To add to the readability of this book, the descriptions of so-called research are short and to the point (and include citations to the publication sources, just in case you think the author is making this ridiculous stuff up), so if you need a short break from work you can pick up the book, read just a few pages if you like, put it down, and then start reading again anywhere you want.
The purchase price of the book is small in comparison with the chuckles you'll get, the head shakes of disbelief, and perhaps even the firm knowledge and consolation that there's a hell of a lot of research going on that's worse than your own.
The entries are written by those in the sciences, and range from tongue-in-cheek parodies, to listings of real, but absurd research projects and papers (in their terms, "WTF research"). It's got a very high nerd factor, but for those in the fields, or with reasonable scientific literacy, it's a gas!
You can get an idea of the contents by checking out improbable.com or the IgNoble Prizes.
For those with an ocd-like need to know (and my recollection may be fuzzy), the enterprise was a spinoff from the Worm Runners Digest of the 1960's which morphed into the JIR. There were some publishing/copyright hassles, and Mark Abrahams left JIR to found AIR. By some sort of magic, or whatever, it seems he's now editor of both. Huh?
Highly recommended for a select audience.This is Improbable: Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens and Other WTF Research
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not really as funny or engaging as I had hoped, but that's more of a style thing for me. The author's voice just isn't very much like my own. Still well-written and a funny idea.Published 12 months ago by M. Weigand
There is no meat on this chicken. This is like reading headline news. Waste of time. I recommend not buying this book.Published on April 14, 2013 by Diane
I bought this for a friend because I heard and interview with the author on NPR and it sounded like the perfect gift for my friend!Published on February 26, 2013 by Mary
Funniest book on matters dark and rare he's read in awhile. He laughed out loud most of the time he's been reading it!!Published on January 10, 2013 by J. Watson