Mini-Air

1999-08-17 MAY WE RECOMMEND:

Research reports that merit a trip to the library. (For a much larger collection, see any issue of AIR.)

PERIODIC HONOR
"Circaseptennian [about 7-year] periodicity in the distribution of birth years of Nobel laureates for physics," J. Verhulst, and P. Onghena, Psychological Reports, vol. 82, no. 1, February 1998, pp. 127-30. (Thanks to Carole Wilcox for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, who are at the Louis Bolk Institute in The Netherlands, report that:
The distribution of birth years for Nobel physicists shows a circaseptennian (about 7-year) periodicity. This observation extends an earlier observation of a circaseptennian pattern in the distribution of birth years for early quantum physicists. In both categories, birth rate tends to maximize in years belonging to the (7n + 4) phase.


1995-06-03 Alluring Abstracts from AIR 1:3

Below are summaries of a few randomly selected articles from vol. 1, no. 3, the May/June 1995 issue. [NOTE: AIR 1:3 is a special Food Issue.]

"Apples and Oranges: A Comparison," by Scott Sandford. It is generally understood that apples and oranges cannot be compared. However, spectrographic analysis of a Granny Smith apple and a Sunkist navel orange reveals that apples and oranges are in fact quite similar. [Includes chart of infrared transmission spectra, and a photograph.]

"Evolutionary Relationships Among Cheeses," by Benjamin Waggoner. Cladistic analysis of modern cheeses shows a close affinity between velveetids and cheddaroids, with mozzarelloids as a sister taxon to both. Careful application of these and other techniques makes it possible, even with limited fossil data, to fill in basic patterns of cheese evolution through time. [Includes a table of cheeses and their characteristics, and a two-dimensional cladogram of eight cheese taxa.]


1995-06-07 Top Quark Tour Highlights

They are strange. They are charming. From Top to Bottom, our world-wide traveling exhibition of Top Quarks & Friends (from the Fermilab collection) has been drawing rave reviews. We are happy to announce that ticket prices have been reduced, thanks to the unexpectedly large run of spectators. Thrill as you infer that the Top Quarks decay before your eyes -- in most cases before you even reach your seat. Every ticketholder receives a coupon redeemable for 40 million (!) free electrons, paradoxically delivered by the estimable Erwin the cat (Aye, there's the rub). A revised schedule of the remaining tour dates will be announced as soon as we receive the shipment of revised-formula formaldehyde plasma which will (the manufacturer promises us) enable us to preserve and mount the specimens.


1995-02-04 Selected Abstracts from AIR 1:2

Selected abstract from articles published in the March/April 1995 issue (vol. 1, no. 2) of The Annals of Improbable Research. For details and accompanying photographs and data, see the issue itself.

"Xerox Enlargement Microscopy (XEM)," by David P. Cann and Phillip Pruna. A revolutionary new microscopy technique makes it possible to achieve subatomic resolution levels by using standard copying machines. The process consists of iterative enlargements of enlargements. The authors present several examples, including a 15,392 magnification image of ferroelectric barium titanate and a 1,367,481 X image of a deuterium ion.

"The Dead in the Classroom," by Stephen Rushen. To an early morning freshman economics class of thirty live students, fifteen dead students were added. Performance of both live and dead students was observed through the course of the semester. Data are presented in the categories of: attendance; behavior; participation; and exam scores. In three of the four areas, the dead students' performance was the equal of, if not superior to, that of their living peers.


1995-02-07 Missing Matter

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(c) copyright 1995, The Annals of Improbable Research
from:
The mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR")
Issues Number 1995-02, 1995-06, 1999-08
ISSN 1076-500X
Key words: improbable research, science humor, Ig Nobel, AIR
A monthly supplement to The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), the journal of inflated research and personalities