World’s Strangest

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11 Not-So-Famous People We Lost in 2012

It’s been a solemn year for the deaths of famous and significant people – and as always, many died who were less famous, but should be saluted nonetheless for their contributions to the world. Here are 11 of the lesser-known greats who passed this year. 1. Murray Lender: Bagel Tycoon Lender’s Bagels Historical Images Murray Lender, son of [...]

The Nobel Winners Who Foiled the Führer

As the Nazis swallowed Europe, two scientists fought back with the only weapon they had: chemistry. Getty Images When the Third Reich took control of Germany, Danish physicist Niels Bohr (pictured) transformed into something like Oskar Schindler in a lab coat. From his Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen, the Nobel laureate aided and protected Jewish scientists, [...]

Ig® Nobel Limericks: World’s End, Sheep-Dragging, Robber Trap

Ig Nobel Achievements distilled into limerick formby Martin Eiger, Improbable Research Limerick Laureate The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think. For details of all the Ig Nobel Prize–winning achievements, see each year’s special Ig Nobel issue of the magazine, and also see the website. 2011 Ig Nobel Mathematics Prize The [...]

The Downside of a Nobel Prize

Scientists are mostly a humble bunch, as they spend a big part of their lives in search of knowledge or teaching it to others without much hoopla. And while incompetent people often don’t know they are incompetent, professional scientists are often smart enough to think they don’t quite measure up. And while winning a Nobel [...]

The Sperm Bank for Nobel Prize Winners

The Repository for Germinal Choice, better known as the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank, was founded in 1980 by multimillionaire Robert Graham, inventor of shatterproof eyeglass lenses. His goal was to combine the sperm and eggs of superior men and women—ideally Nobel laureates—to produce superior babies. If all this sounds an awful lot like eugenics, well, [...]

Marie Curie’s Sex Scandal and the Duel It Inspired

Getty Images Marie Curie is well known as the first genius to have snagged two Nobel Prizes. The first came in 1903, when she and her husband, Pierre, were awarded a Nobel Prize in physics for their radiation research. Then, in 1911, she nabbed a Nobel in chemistry for her discovery of radium and polonium. But [...]

The Least Deserving Nobel Laureate

You can argue all night about who deserved and didn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for just about any year. But if you restrict the debate to science prizes, you’ll find research that turned out to do more harm than good, experiments and conclusions that were just plain wrong, and scientists who turned out to [...]

Ig® Nobel Limericks: Promotion, Ignition, Spaghetti

Ig Nobel Achievements distilled into limerick form by Martin Eiger, Improbable Research Limerick Laureate The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think. For details of all the Ig Nobel Prize–winning achievements, see each year’s special Ig Nobel issue of the magazine, and also see a list at the website. 2010 [...]

Ig® Nobel Limericks: Slime, Nation, Beer

Ig Nobel Achievements distilled into limerick form by Martin Eiger, Improbable Research Limerick Laureate The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think. For details of all the Ig Nobel Prize–winning achievements, see each year’s special Ig Nobel issue of the magazine, and also see the winners’ page. 2008 Ig Nobel [...]

Alanis Irony: Nobel Winner Dies Days Before Award Given

It’s like something out of that Alanis song: An old man turned ninety-eight, He won the lottery and died the next day Dr. Ralph M. Steinman won a Nobel yesterday for his breakthrough work in immunology, but died last Friday, days before the announcement was made. How sad is that? From the New York Times: Nobel Prizes cannot be [...]