Tag Archives: Improbable Research


2012 Ig Nobels: Ponytail Physics, Coffee Sloshes, and Reports on Reports on Reports

A UCLA gymnast shows off her ponytail, the study of which won this year’s Ig Nobel prize in physics. Credit: Parker Michael Knight.

Research on a host of unusual topics was honored on Thursday night at the Ig Nobel awards ceremony, at Harvard University. The prizes, which go to the researchers behind the year’s most startling scientific achievements, don’t include the cash awards that are common to other accolades. But the Ig Nobel ceremony, now in its 22nd year, is approaching legendary status.


Planning on Watching the Ig Nobels Tonight?

The Ig Nobel awards, now in their 22nd year, offer a moment of genuine excitement about what seems, sometimes, like pretty silly science. For example, past winners have been honored for studying the inadvertent productivity of procrastination, creating bras that double as face masks, elucidating the movement of a hula hoop (“Coordination Modes in the Multisegmental Dynamics of Hula Hooping”), and shedding light on the vital art of sword swallowing.

But don’t be fooled by the levity of the bra-ma…