In 1971, professor David Coward won the 'Most Boring Lecturer of the Year' contest at Leeds University with a peerless discussion of 'the problems of the manned urinal'. In March 1986, however, Coward was uncrowned by Exeter University's Frank Oliver, who delivered a brilliantly dull lecture on a subject which he called 'essentially fascinating': Co-efficency correlations. With his back to the audience, Oliver used a series of unintellligible blackboard diagrams to explain how to 'measure the strength of the relationship between two variables at points between minus one and plus one.'
So resounding was his triumph in this annual competition thatthe event was cancelled for several years. When it was revived in 1988, Oliver won yet again -- by simply repeating his original lecture.