Joke Hunter of Science; April 2002; Scientific American Magazine; by Steve Nadis; 1 Page(s)
When April Fools' Day rolls around, many people look for little jokes to play on their friends. Marc Abrahams casts his net far wider, searching for the biggest jokes in the science world. April is when planning for the Ig Nobel prize ceremony "kicks into high gear," Abrahams explains. He has much to do before the event is held this October at Harvard University. In addition to settling on a list of winners, he'll write the libretto for a mini opera on jargon that will premiere at the prize ceremony, finish a book on the event's illustrious heritage, and continue to edit and publish the science humor magazine the Annals of Improbable Research, or AIR.
His other activities include leading an international campaign to prevent the desecration of the plastic pink flamingo (invented by former Ig winner Don Featherstone), boosting membership in the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (a group founded in honor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Steven Pinker) and reviewing lunchrooms at various research hot spots for AIR. Such is the improbable life of one of science humor's most visible champions and possibly the only person in the world to pursue this line of work full-time.