How to become an improbable PhD

Photo by: LOLScientist

Have you ever had to make an important decision while waiting in line for the toilets? And then wondered if that decision was better or worse than the one you would have made if you were not standing there, legs crossed, desperately trying to not think about water? Or have you thought about why people sigh?

Well if that’s the case 2011 was a year full of answers for you.

A group of scientists from Holland, Belgium, USA and Australia found the answer for the first question – and then placed it on a fence. The answer is that yes, you do sometimes actually make better decisions while bursting to pee, but not always. Some important decisions you make while waiting to micturate (yes, it’s a word, look it up) are actually worse. You can read loads more about their results here.

Karl Halvor Teigen found the answer for why people sigh. Well, at least he tried to find it. One point for guessing what sound he made when realising he wouldn’t find the definitive answer.

Both Karl Halvor and the group of pee-interested scientists have been recognised in their respective fields o Psychology and Medicine as having done something special. Something especially improbable that is.

See, both have somehow managed to convince other people that their ideas for research topics were actually great ideas, deserving of funding. Needles to say, these scientists should never, never, never be allowed to switch to telemarketing.

You can see more improbable research like the difference in dizziness effects on discus versus hammer throwers or whether yaws are contagious – in the Red-Footed Tortoise by going to the Improbable Research webpage. They have their own version of the Nobel Prizes, you know.


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