The Ig Nobel Prizes, a parody of the Nobel Prizes, are awarded annually to research that initially seems absurd but that, on closer inspection, is indeed valuable. The creator of this prize, Marc Abrahams, is coming to Nijmegen on 28 March for an evening on which three Dutch Ig Nobel Prize winners will speak about the value of improbable research. ‘If you want to have a good laugh one evening and challenge your thinking, you definitely need to attend.’When linguist Mark Dingemanse (Radboud University) conducted research with colleagues on the question: “what do people who do not understand each other do to solve that problem?”, they encountered an interesting phenomenon. Because it turned out: in the 31 languages they examined, a word similar to ‘huh?’ appeared in every such a situation. That is significant, because universal phenomena rarely occur in so many different languages.Price for creativityDingemanse and his colleagues won an Ig Nobel Prize in 2015 for their research into the word ‘huh?’. And they are proud of that: “After all, it's a kind of cult prize for work that makes you laugh and then makes you think. I view it as recognition for research that you would not easily come up with, and for the improbable discovery. It is a prize for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking – and these are important driving forces in science.”Improbable questionsWell before Dingemanse was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize, he already spoke and wrote about how important it was for him as a researcher to talk to laypeople. “They ask unexpected questions which is an excellent antidote against tunnel vision. I think you should talk as much as possible with as wide a range of people as possible, scientists from other disciplines and non-scientists. For example, by blogging, conducting experiments outside the lab, or speaking at science cafés and festivals.”Wobbly assumptionsAnd that could also be the reason for others to go to the Ig Nobel Evening in Nijmegen at the end of March, where Dingemanse is one of the speakers. Marc Abrahams, founder of the Ig Nobel Prize, is the main guest there. “It is a rare opportunity to hear him speak about improbable research. If you want to have a good laugh while also challenging your capacity for critical thinking, you definitely need to attend. Or if you feel like being challenged to look at your own discipline or results from a fresh perspective. Which of your assumptions might be wobbly? That's always nice, right?”The Value of Improbable Research: An Ig Nobel EveningThursday 28 March 2019 | 19.30 - 21.30 | De Lindenberg, NijmegenIn addition to Marc Abrahams and Mark Dingemanse, other guests include Ig Nobel winners Nadia Dominici (neuroscientist, demonstrates under what conditions people are physically able to run on water) and Kees Moeliker (biologist, talks about the relevance of homosexual necrophilia among ducks and other animals in the animal kingdom).NOTE: the official language of the evening is English.Tickets: € 7.50 | Employees of Radboud University and Radboud university medical center and Alumni Benefits Card holders pay € 5 | Students, pupils and Radboud Reflects subscribers: free.