What Journal Is He Talking about?

Sun Apr 3, 2005

“In the U.S., there is a periodical published by scientists and intended strictly for the cognoscenti, some specialists. It abounds with parodies, in-jokes (mostly nonsensical), and crazy ideas, entirely inaccessible to outsiders.”

Lem. “Twenty Two Answers and Two Postscripts.” SFS 13 (1986): 251.

The early days of Philosophy of Science had a strange and often funny column called “A New Budget of Paradoxes” by “W.M.M.,” but that clearly isn’t it.


Two distinguished scholars, one often referred to as “the most erudite scholar of his generation” and the other a dynamic force in today’s blogosphere, wrote to me separately to say that this was likely the Journal of Irreproducible Results (now known as the Annals of Improbable Research). I agree, though I thought that what Lem described sounded a bit more esoteric than I think of that to be. Perhaps we should blame the internet.