This book brings together two areas of human endeavor that don't normally go together: science and humor. The Ig Nobel Awards (actually held every year at Harvard University) honor those achievements which "cannot or should not be reproduced."
Did you know that elevator music may help prevent the common cold? Companies like Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco, Waste Management and WorldCom shared an award for adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in the business world. A man from Lithuania created an amusement park called Stalin World. To save money, the British Royal Navy has barred trainees at its top gunnery school from firing live shells and ordered them to shout "bang." It has been determined that, biochemically, romantic love may be indistinguishable from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. A college professor from Pennsylvania fed prozac to clams (at the cellular level, clams and humans show remarkable nervous system similarities), resulting in a whole lot of reproducing going on. A man from France is the only winner of two Ig Nobels, for demonstrating that water has a memory, and that the information can be transmitted over the phone and the Internet.
Then there are the "classics," like the scientific investigation of why toast often falls on the buttered side; an Australian man who patented the wheel, and the Australian Patent Office who granted it; a man from Arizona who invented software that detcts when a cat is walking across your keyboard; the Southern Baptist Church of Alabama for their county-by-county estimate of how many Alabama citizens will go to hell if they don't repent; the sociology of Canadian donut shops, and the optimal way to dunk a biscuit. Last but not least, a solution has been found to the age-old problem of how to quickly start a barbecue. It can be done in less than four seconds with charcoal - and liquid oxygen.
This book is hilarious. It's humor of a slightly more highbrow variety, designed to make people laugh, then think. It's highly recommended for everyone, even those who think that they hate science.