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Nifty Fifty – Bring a Top Scientist to your Middle or High School

Mr. Marc Abrahams

Years Participated: X-STEM 2014
Abrahams Marc

Nominated by:
Annals of Improbable Research logo Marc Abrahams
Science 101 From Marc Abrahams: Laugh Now, Think Later!C'mon and have a laugh for science!

How could you not when you've a masterful humorist like Marc Abrahams (who's credo is "Laugh now, think later") to navigate you through some of science's most intimidating jargon and complex methodologies.

As editor and co-founder of the irreverent but inspiring Annals of Improbable Research magazine and founder and master or ceremonies of the mischievous IgNobel Prize Ceremony that honors unusual scientific achievements in satirical ways, Marc has been known to elicit more than a snicker or two from his avid audiences.

It's no wonder that his offbeat style in exploring the wonders of science and technology – ranging from farting fish and introducing the laws of stupidity to performing an opera for a tooth infection – has earned him such monikers as "the Puck of Science" from the "the nation's guru of academic grunge", from the

But the accolades sometimes leave Marc a bit humbled. "It's a little embarrassing that it took me about 12 years to describe what I do," he admits with a smile." I mean, to come up with a concise, clear way to describe it. Here's the description. Everything I collect and write about has this quality: it first makes people laugh, and then makes them think. (What people think is up to them.)"

He adds that what also drives him is the way people behave when they are in the midst of understanding and discovering what he is trying to get across."Nothing in physics or chemistry or mathematics -- at least nothing I've heard of -- is as impressively complex, or as hard to truly, fully understand, as the way people behave."

Holding a degree in applied mathematics from Harvard University (from where his annual IgNobel Prize ceremony is broadcast each year on National Public Radio and webcast live), Marc also writes science articles for various publications, including a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper in Boston, in addition to producing his own Internet TV series, discussing improbable research on NPR's "Science Friday" program, and penning librettos for a series of science mini-operas that premiere as part of the Ig Nobel ceremony.

Marc proudly admits that the editorial board for Annals of Improbable Research is made up of more than 50 distinguished scientists – including nine Nobel Laureates, a IQ record holder Marilyn Vos Savant, and a convicted felon.

After graduating from Harvard, he spent many years developing optical character recognitions systems for computer product companies before founding his own educational software business.

In addition, he is author of several books including: The Man Who Cloned Himself, Why Chickens Prefer Beautiful Humans and The Ig Nobel Prizes.

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