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Improbable Research

Improbable Research

Research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — research about anything and everything, from everywhere —research that's good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. Presented by Marc Abrahams, founder of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.
  • Wednesday, September 28th
  • EPISODE #83: Journeys of toothbrushes

    15:46
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Medical reports of toothbrushes that managed to get inside human bodies. Harvard science demonstrator Daniel Rosenberg discusses the scientific niceties.
  • Wednesday, September 21st
  • EPISODE #82: "The Best Life — Act 3 (of 3)" — A scientific mini-opera where everything goes wrong.

    14:31
    Marc Abrahams introduces a performance of: Act 3 — the conclusion — of "The Best Life" — A scientific mini-opera where everything goes wrong.
  • Wednesday, September 14th
  • EPISODE #81: "The Best Life — Act 2 (of 3)" — scientific mini-opera where everything goes wrong.

    11:21
    Marc Abrahams introduces a performance of: Act 2 of "The Best Life" — A scientific mini-opera where everything goes wrong.
  • Wednesday, September 7th
  • EPISODE #80: "The Best Life — Act 1 (of 3)" — A scientific mini-opera where everything goes wrong.

    12:42
    Marc Abrahams introduces a performance of: Act 1 of "The Best Life" — A scientific mini-opera where everything goes wrong.
  • Wednesday, August 31st
  • EPISODE #79: Does an apple a day improve a woman's sex life?

    09:49
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Does an apple a day improve a woman's sex life? Chris Cotsapas does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, August 24th
  • EPISODE #78: Smelly people in the office

    13:40
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Smelly people in the office? Nicole Sharp does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, August 17th
  • EPISODE #77: Hugging — what does it mean?

    13:06
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Hugging — what does it mean? Daniel Rosenberg does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, August 10th
  • EPISODE #76: Fifty Shades, by Gray

    14:43
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Fifty Shades, by Gray. Melissa Franklin does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, August 3rd
  • EPISODE #75: Garlic —A Sensory Pleasure or a Social Nuisance?

    12:39
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Garlic —A Sensory Pleasure or a Social Nuisance? Chris Cotsapis does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, July 27th
  • EPISODE #74: Predictably smelly breathing in movie theaters

    14:29
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Predictably smelly breathing in movie theaters. Daniel Rosenberg does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, July 20th
  • EPISODE #73: Do Cats Sometimes Pay Some Attention to Their Owners?

    19:44
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Do Cats Sometimes Pay Some Attention to Their Owners? Jean Berko Gleason does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, July 13th
  • EPISODE #72: Hot Rod Magazines - A Harmless Diversion?

    14:44
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Hot Rod Magazines - A Harmless Diversion?, English teachers were alarmed. Melissa Franklin does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, July 6th
  • EPISODE #71: Boring machines

    08:40
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Boring machines. Chris Cotsapis does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, June 29th
  • EPISODE #70: Leaping Fish Injuries, and the Trauma Center

    11:11
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Leaping Fish Injuries, and the Trauma Center. Nicole Sharp does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, June 22nd
  • EPISODE #69: Eat Powdered Mummies for Good Health

    09:17
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Eat Powdered Mummies for Good Health. Daniel Rosenberg does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, June 15th
  • EPISODE #68: Drunk German Speech

    15:45
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Drunk German Speech. Jean Berko Gleason does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, June 8th
  • EPISODE #67: The attempt to automatically recognize boredom

    12:41
    Marc Abrahams tells about: The attempt to automatically recognize boredom. Computer; car, driving, head, chin. Nicole Sharp does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, June 1st
  • EPISODE #66: Contagious yawning in the red-footed tortoise

    09:14
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Contagious yawning in the red-footed tortoise. Daniel Rosenberg does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, May 25th
  • EPISODE #65: The M-through-Z of Social Etiquette

    06:58
    Marc Abrahams tells about: The M-through-Z of Social Etiquette. Robin Abrahams does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, May 18th
  • EPISODE #64: Happiness from painful insect stings

    19:31
    Marc Abrahams tells about: The happy insect scientist who compiled the Sting Pain Index; Justin Schmidt. Dramatic readings by the QI elves (James Harkin, Dan Schreiber, Anne Miller, Steve Colgan, and Alex Bell).
  • Wednesday, May 11th
  • EPISODE #64: The physics of skulking and falling cats

    06:55
    Marc Abrahams tells about: The physics of skulking and falling cats. Chris Cotsapis does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, May 4th
  • EPISODE #62: Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Dress

    17:52
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Dress. Nicole Sharp does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies. Deborah Henson-Conant performs her orchestral work called "Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Dress"
  • Wednesday, April 27th
  • EPISODE #61: Leadership by a man with a big mouth

    12:40
    Marc Abrahams tells about: A study about men whose big mouths help them become political leaders. Daniel Rosenberg does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, April 20th
  • EPISODE #60: The lizards that fell to earth

    09:15
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Lizards that fall to earth, and the people who collect them. Daniel Rosenberg does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, April 13th
  • EPISODE #59: Standardized food glops

    11:17
    Marc Abrahams tells about: standardized food glops. Nicole Sharp does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, April 6th
  • EPISODE #58: Pecker bang analysis — woodpeckers and hammers

    13:03
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Pecker bang analysis — research about woodpeckers and hammers, and splitting the bill for a restaurant meal. Daniel Rosenberg does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, March 30th
  • EPISODE #57: • The A-through-L of Social Dilemmas

    08:37
    Marc Abrahams tells about: The A-through-L of Social Dilemmas and Etiquette, as seen by Emily Post. Robin Abrahams does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, March 23rd
  • EPISODE #56: • Where do you sit in Bulgaria? On which side of a movie theater?

    22:19
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Researchers about where you sit in Bulgaria —on which side of a movie theater. Are all accountants grey? Jean Berko Gleason does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, March 16th
  • EPISODE #55: • Researchers named Fish, who study fish

    14:05
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Researchers named Fish, who study fish, and also tells about the "Theory of Structured Procrastination". Daniel Rosenberg does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, March 9th
  • EPISODE #54: • Effect of Audience Boredom on Power-Hungry Persons

    13:19
    Marc Abrahams tells about: research on the Effect of Audience Boredom on Power-Hungry Persons. Jean Berko Gleason does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, March 2nd
  • EPISODE #53: • Fold when wet (if naked underwater)

    15:41
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Soviet Union research comparing dolphins with naked swimmers towed at high speed underwater. Nicole Sharp does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, February 24th
  • EPISODE #52: Social dilemmas from the not-so-distant past

    08:22
    Marc Abrahams tells about: social dilemmas from the not so distant past, as cataloged by etiquette expert Emily Post. Robin Abrahams does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, February 17th
  • EPISODE #51: Porn research

    05:29
    Marc Abrahams tells about: research reports by researchers named "Porn". Melissa Franklin does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, February 10th
  • EPISODE #50: How now, warm cow

    10:34
    Marc Abrahams tells about: heat loss from a cow and an elephant. Daniel Rosenberg does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, February 3rd
  • EPISODE #49: Artificial Lion-Roaring Contests

    09:05
    Marc Abrahams tells about: artificial lion-roaring contests. Jean Berko Gleason does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, January 27th
  • EPISODE #48: Hair (and Hare) Research

    09:41
    Marc Abrahams tells about: jump performance of dog fleas compared with cat fleas; and research by researchers named Hare. Chris Cotsapis does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, January 20th
  • EPISODE #47: I do not understand, and have something to say

    09:32
    Marc Abrahams tells about: disappearance of things inside boys; a tall space, with a small bottom; Something that one particular person does NOT understand; and the AMBIGUITY of brussels sprouts. Melissa Franklin does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, January 13th
  • EPISODE #46: Neurological damage from praying

    09:06
    Marc Abrahams tells about: neurological damage from praying, auctioneer's jaw; Chris Cotsapis does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, January 6th
  • EPISODE #45: sneezing, mustache wax, and a full stomach

    11:31
    Marc Abrahams tells about: people who sneeze when their stomach is full, a medical hazard of mustache wax, and the international diplomacy of using porcine parts to train surgeons; Melissa Franklin does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
  • EPISODE #44: Stool pigeons, and clothes-shopping clothes, and tanning beds

    20:13
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Stool pigeons, clothes-shopping clothes; and the perverse psychology of people who use tanning beds; Jean Berko Gleason does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
  • EPISODE #43: How Expert Are Self-Perceived Experts?

    18:32
    Marc Abrahams tells about: The impossible expertise of self-proclaimed experts; experiments in chewing and swallowing Robin Abrahams and Jean Berko Gleason do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre-seeming studies.
  • Wednesday, December 16th, 2015
  • EPISODE #42: Dream telepathy and the Grateful Dead, and Vibrations

    18:14
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Dream telepathy and the Grateful Dead; Oscillating this and that; Icky Cutesy Research; vomit identification, mummified; pink teeth; Jean Berko Gleason, Daniel Rosenberg, and Melissa Franklin do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, December 9th, 2015
  • EPISODE #41: Kansas is flatter than a pancake

    21:37
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Kansas is flatter than a pancake; the water test; a hole in the head; Jean Berko Gleason, Daniel Rosenberg, and Melissa Franklin do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
  • EPISODE #40: Sounds delicious, sounds disgusting, everything, and nothing

    18:18
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Food sounds that are delicious; food sounds that are disgusting; Size, Timing, Everything, and Nothing; Jean Berko Gleason, and Daniel Rosenberg do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
  • EPISODE #39: A beef boom, and who can touch whom

    21:26
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Using explosions to tenderize meat; Who can touch whom on what body parts in which countries; Human-Milk-Smell Perfume, for the Benefit of Babies; Daniel Rosenberg, Jean Berko Gleason, and Melissa Franklin do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, November 18th, 2015
  • EPISODE #38: Color preference in the insane, with frozen mammoth

    18:42
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Color preference in the insane; The red sweat of the hippopotamus; Did the Explorers Club eat frozen mammoth? ; Some boys-will-be-boys research, including: what surgeons do when something gets... bigger; academic treatises on the topic of... bullshit; Jean Berko Gleason, Richard Baguley, and Bruce Petschek do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, November 11th, 2015
  • EPISODE #37: Shoe-throwing at weddings & wandering washing machines

    21:07
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Shoe-throwing at Weddings; The Great Untied Shoelace Experiment; Moving violations of washing machines; The fullness of empty picture frames; the capacity of the nose; Robin Abrahams, Jean Berko Gleason, Richard Baguley, and Sue Wellington do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
  • EPISODE #36: Crunchiness loss and headless mannequins

    20:32
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Crunchiness Loss in Puffed Snacks; How shoppers react to headless mannequins; Women who are captured by love (sort of); Jean Berko Gleason, Robin Abrahams, and Sue Wellington do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, October 28th, 2015
  • EPISODE #35: The Psychoanalysts' Nose, and Hair in Funny Places

    21:28
    Marc Abrahams tells about: the psychoanalysts' nose; beard restoration; discomforting hair in funny places; still more of those clever contraptions to capture crooks; pathology and birdwatching, compared. Jean Berko Gleason, Daniel Rosenberg, Sue Wellington, and Richard Baguley do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
  • EPISODE #34: OM, OM, OM; Monkey Wrench; Basic Black Dress

    20:52
    Marc Abrahams tells about: the repetitive physics of the word OM; Barcus and his monkey wrench; some more of those clever contraptions to capture crooks, and teh question "Basic black dress — hot, or not?". Jean Berko Gleason, Sue Wellington, and Richard Baguley do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, October 14th, 2015
  • EPISODE #33: Make sure colonoscopy patients will not explode

    21:42
    Marc Abrahams tells about: how chimpanzees recognize the rear ends of other chimpanzees; how to make sure colonoscopy patients will not explode; and a farewell to the inventor of the machine that makes bagels. Daniel Rosenberg and Sue Wellington do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
  • EPISODE #32: A report on reports on reports, coffee, and ponytails

    20:27
    Marc Abrahams tells about: A report on reports on reports; the physics of ponytails; why people spill coffee when they walk; and the pleasures of reading textbooks. Daniel Rosenberg and Sue Wellington do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
  • EPISODE #31: Tilted Eiffel Tower, Green-haired Swedish Blondes

    20:13
    Marc Abrahams tells about: How leaning to the left makes the Eiffel Tower seem smaller; Converting old Russian ammunition into new diamonds; A machine that you can point at someone to induce them to get confused, and shut up; How to see brain activity in a dead salmon; and The puzzle of why some blonde people in Sweden suddenly found their hair turning green. Jean Berko Gleason does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
  • EPISODE #30: Head on Brain in Brain

    20:55
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Henry Head, Lord Brain, the medical journal Brain; characteristics of kids with TVs in their bedrooms; the odd faces of succssful CEO's; student ratings of professors' hotness and coolness. Richard Baguley, Jean Berko Gleason, and Chris Cotsapis do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, September 16th, 2015
  • EPISODE #29: Eat a shrew, and an epidemic of penile amputations

    24:47
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Ig Nobel prize-winning research, including: the secret of why onions make people cry; the scientist who ate and excreted a shrew; the one-armed man who was arrested for applauding; the question of when cows lie down and stand up; surgical management of an epidemic of penile amputations in Siam; Jean Berko Gleason does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies; Jean's cat takes over the podcast.
  • Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
  • EPISODE #28: A Look Back at the 2013 Ig Nobel Prize winners PART 1

    22:06
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Ig Nobel prize-winning research, including: the effects of opera, on heart transplant patients who are mice; whether people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive; whether and how dung beetles pay attention to the Milky Way; Gustano Pizzo's machinery for capturing, packaging, and transmitting an airplane hijacker; and the experiment to see whether, and where people could run on water. Jean Berko Gleason does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015
  • EPISODE #27: A Look Back at the 2014 Ig Nobel Prize winners (Part 2)

    23:16
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Ig Nobel prize-winning research, including: dog defecation and earth's magnetic field; the pain of ugly paintings and laser beams; the official national benefit of prostitution in Italy; the medical worth of bacon-up-the-nose; reindeer's reactions to humans disguised as polar bears; and a scientific study called "Characterization of Lactic Acid Bacteria Isolated from Infant Feces as Potential Probiotic Starter Cultures for Fermented Sausages. Daniel Rosenberg does dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
  • EPISODE #26: A Look Back at the 2014 Ig Nobel Prize winners (Part 1)

    23:33
    Marc Abrahams tells about: Ig Nobel prize-winning trod-upon banana peels; deities in toast; late night psychopaths; cat hazards; and dog alignment — and also at some improbable medical studies, about really, really, really heavy marijuana users; fat people's shoes; spearmint tea and hairy women; and someone who swallowed a fork. Daniel Rosenberg and Jean Berko Gleason do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, August 19th, 2015
  • EPISODE #25: FIRE-EATERS AND PUNK ROCKERS

    22:49
    Marc Abrahams tells about: fire-eaters and punk rockers; the names of bad guys; a burglar trap, and other clever contraptions to capture crooks; cell phones as tools for congregating men; and the allure, maybe, of men who wear wedding rings. Chris Cotsapis, Jean Berko Gleason, Andrew Berry, and Daniel Rosenberg do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.
  • Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
  • EPISODE #24: The Longest Oath

    21:50
    Marc Abrahams tells about: The longest oath; The Okajima/Fujinami Navel Lint Removal Invention; Global BOOM; The Year of Lint; Preference Mapping of Cheese Sticks; Periodic Leg Movements During Sleep; and Some dirty, rotten, and "dammed" imperfections. Robin Abrahams, Daniel Rosenberg, and Chris Cotsapis do dramatic readings from genuine, bizarre studies.

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