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Improbable Science

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 26 November 2012

Brian Cox and Robin Ince discuss some of the more unlikely and odd avenues of research travelled down in the name of science. For example, the British physicist who calculated the optimal way to dunk a biscuit into a cup of tea without it disintegrating too quickly. Or the brain researchers who demonstrated that they could detect meaningful brain activity... in a dead salmon. All these academics share something in common, not just a slightly quirky application of the scientific method. They have also been a recipient of the now infamous Ig Nobel prizes, awarded each year as a parody of the Nobel Prize, to research that seems at first glance, entirely improbable, and possibly pointless. Robin and Brian are joined on stage by the organiser of the Ig Nobels, Marc Abrahams, comedian Katy Brand and biologist Professor Matthew Cobb, from the University of Manchester, to ask whether all scientific exploration is valid, no matter how ridiculous it may seem at first glance, or whether there is genuinely something to be learned from observations that to many, may seem pointless.

Producer: Alexandra Feachem
Presenters: Robin Ince and Brian Cox.


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