Annals of Improbable Research

From Academic Kids

The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) is a monthly magazine devoted to scientific humour, in the form of a satirical take on the standard academic journal. In each issue, AIR usually showcases at least one actual piece of scientific research being done on a very strange topic, but most of their articles concern real or fictional absurd experiments, such as a comparison of apples and oranges using gas chromatography. Other features include ratings of the cafeterias at scientific institutes.

AIR awards the Ig Nobel Prizes for "results that cannot or should not be reproduced".

AIR is not the first science parody magazine. The Journal of Irreproducible Results was founded by Alex Kohn and Harry Lipkin in 1955, but most of its editorial staff, including Editor Marc Abrahams, split after the magazine was bought by publisher George Scherr in 1994. Scherr filed a number of court actions against AIR, alleging that it was deceptively similar to the Journal and that it had stolen the name "Ig Nobel Prize," but these actions were unsuccessful.

AIR got some unexpected attention from American military intelligence when a copy of one of their articles was found among other papers in an abandoned terrorist headquarters in the Middle East. The article was a highly unrealistic and farcical explanation of how to build a nuclear weapon that some unwitting Al Qaida member had filed away for unknown reasons. Nonetheless the discovery prompted a short-lived official investigation of AIR.

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