The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) is a mock scientific journal, the illegitimate daughter of the earlier Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR). It was formed shortly after the JIR was bought by publisher George Scherr in 1994; editor Marc Abrahams left JIR to form his own publication, and in the following years his AIR has overtaken the JIR in popularity, although the name AIR has moved into the background as various sub-projects have become more popular than the original publication.

AIR is essentially a version of The Onion for scientists. It is published six times a year, and contains spoof articles, jokes, and coverage of true-yet-amusing scientific research. AIR is, in fact, very much like the JIR, and at one point Scherr tried to sue AIR on the grounds of intellectual theft. However, while the concept is very much the same, AIR has managed to make science-nerdery profitable (or at least sustainable), something that JIR has not managed. One thing that helps set AIR apart is that it does base a lot of its content off of actual research, although it certainly doesn't maintain a dignified scientific detachment in discussion of said research. Back issues are available for free in .pdf format if you would like to sample the goods.

AIR has maintained an almost respectable level of success through the careful marketing of popular projects; The Guardian runs an Improbable Research column written by Abrahams, and its popular Ig Noble Prize, which recognizes discoveries "that cannot, or should not, be reproduced", is broadcast yearly on the NPR show Science Friday. AIR also publishes various spin-off books and collections, and a series of short videos known as "Improbable TV".

The Improbable Research Site
The Ig Noble Prize
Subscribe to AIR (Just $39.00 a year)

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