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Those who think science is boring probably haven't heard of Improbable Research, a Massachusetts-based group that collects and conducts "improbable research"--research that "makes people laugh and then think." Tonight from 8 to 10 PM at the Fairmont Hotel's Moulin Rouge room (200 N. Columbus) they'll be reviewing the past year's research and Ig Nobel Prize winners, several of whom will give presentations. On the program: researchers studying the effects of sword swallowing, the man credited with the world record for the quickest barbeque ignition (using liquid oxygen), and representatives from Project Steve, which has found 1,000 scientists named Steve who believe in the theory of evolution (the project parodies efforts by creationists to gather lists of scientists who doubt Darwin's theory). Genevieve Thiers of OperaModa will also perform the mini-opera Atom & Eve.
The program kicks off the annual meeting for the American Association of the Advancement of Science, which continues throughout the weekend (it's not free) and includes a presentation by former vice president Al Gore.