Marc Abrahams, Ig Nobel Prize

Marc Abrahams, Ig Nobel Prize

Monday, 4 December 2017 at 15:00 in the Operon, EMBL Heidelberg

Marc Abrahams, Ig Nobel Prize

Improbable Research and the Ig Nobel Prizes


Why coffee cups spill, why woodpeckers don't get headaches, the bacteriological hazard of bearded men, an analysis of the forces required to drag sheep across various surfaces — these are among the 270 things that have won Ig Nobel Prizes. The prizes honor research that makes people laugh, then think. Marc Abrahams, founder of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University, will discuss the wonder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and of research that ventures outside the bounds of what people expect.


From 1990-1994, Marc was the editor of the Journal of Irreproducible Results. In 1994, after the magazine's publisher decided to abandon the magazine, the founders and entire editorial staff (1955-1994) of the Journal abandoned the publisher, and immediately created AIR. The Improbable Research editorial board of more than 50 distinguished scientists includes many Nobel Laureates, several Ig Nobel Prize winners, IQ record holder Marilyn Vos Savant, and a convicted felon. Marc described how it all began, in an essay for The Guardian.

Marc has a degree in applied mathematics from Harvard College, spent several years developing optical character recognition computer systems (including a reading machine for the blind) at Kurzweil Computer Products, and later founded Wisdom Simulators, which used computers to give people experience in making excruciating decisions. Marc is the subject of a Harvard Business School case study called "Marc Abrahams: Annals of an Improbable Entrepreneur."