Can serious research be funny?

While readimascotng the newspaper, I came across a reference to the Ig Noble Prizes, which celebrates research that makes people laugh and then think.  The organization, Improbable Research, also publishes a bi-monthly magazine called, Annals of Improbable Research.  Check it out to laugh and for thought-provoking studies.

Image of “The Stinker,” the official mascot of the Ig Noble Prizes, from

Big money in physics?

Yuri Milner

Who knew? As a scientist in the field of physics, you have the chance to be awarded the most lucrative academic prize in the world. Nine physicists became multimillionaires after Yuri Milner, a billionaire who made his fortune investing in Internet companies like Facebook and Groupon after quitting his PhD in physics, and then established the Fundamental Physics Prize, dropped $3 million into their bank accounts. The prize is larger than the Nobel Prize, which is currently $1.2 million, split among 2 or 3 people and differs from the Nobel Prize in crucial ways. The Fundamental Physics Prize can go to younger scientists who are still in the experimental stage of their research. The nomination and voting process is also different, with anyone being able to nominate a winner online and the selection panel is public. Milner hopes that the significant size of the prize will shine a spotlight on fundamental physics and drive home the importance of the field. To read more about Yuri Milner, the Fundamental Physics Prize and its recipients, check out this article in The Guardian.

Image from The New York Times