About the 2002 Ig™ Nobel Prize Ceremony, and related events

==> The 2002 Winners
==> The Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony
==> Related Event: The Ig Medical Lectures
==> Related Event: The Ig Informal Lectures

Nine-year-old Miss Sweetie Poo informs Charles Paxton, co-winner of the 2002 Ig Nobel Biology Prize, that his acceptance speech has become too lengthy. Photo: Eric Workman. (Click on image to enlarge it)


The 2002 Ig™ Nobel Prize Ceremony

For full details and lots of photos, see the special Ig Nobel issue (Jan/Feb 2003) of the Annals of Improbable Research.

Click here to see recorded video of the entire event.

WHEN: Thursday, October 3, 2002, 7:30 pm.
(The pre-ceremony concert started at 7:10)

WHERE: Harvard University's Sanders Theater.
(Info about how to pahk your cah near Hahvud Yahd)

WHAT: The 12th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony. Ten new Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded. Nearly all of the new winners traveled to the ceremony, at their own expense. The prizes were handed to them by a group of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel Laureates, all before a standing room only audience of 1200 people. (Click here for some QUICK PREVIEWS: 1, 2, 3, 4) (Click here for some press accounts of what actually happened.)

PRESS CONTACT: Members of the press who need more info are urged to get in touch with Annals of Improbable Research editor Marc Abrahams, 617-491-4437.

TICKETS: Tickets were available exclusively from the Harvard Box Office.
(The event, as every year, was sold out)

AUDIENCE DELEGATIONS: Audience members who came to the ceremony with a group of six or more people culd choose to be recognized as an official Delegation. Every delegation was officially celebrated at the beginning of the Ceremony, and the very most colorful delegations were chosen to parade ostentatiously into the theater. Here is the registration process (you might want to keep it in mind if you are comign to next year's ceremony:

INTERNET TELECAST: The live telecast has, of course, already occurred. Click below to see recorded video of the entire event on YouTube.

RADIO: The ceremony was telecast live on the Internet, and broadcast live on MIT radio WMBR-FM 88.1. A special edited version that will be broadcast on Friday, November 29, the day after Thanksgiving, on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation/ Science Friday with Ira Flatow."

THEME: Every year, the ceremony has a new theme. (The theme pertains to some of the goings-on at the ceremony, though not necessarily to any of the year's prize-winning achievements). This year's theme: JARGON.

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS: In addition to the awarding of the Prizes, the ceremony was jam-packed with a variety of momentously inconsequential (and one most consequential!) events. Chief among them:

  • The 24/7 Seminars, in which several of the world's top thinkers each explained their subject twice:
    A) a complete technical description in TWENTY-FOUR (24) SECONDS*; and THEN
    B) a clear summary that anyone can understand, in SEVEN (7) WORDS.

    The 24/7 LECTURERS and their TOPICS included:
  • Richard Roberts: BIOCHEMISTRY
  • Anne Hart: NEUROBIOLOGY
  • Ira Flatow: TECHNOLOGY
  • Jean Berko Gleason (inventor of the Wug Test): LANGUAGE
  • Sip Siperstein: ANIMALS
  • Alyssa Goodman: ASTROPHYSICS
  • Robert Marshall: MUSIC
  • "The Jargon Opera" -- a new mini-opera about jargon, starring:
  • Margot Button
  • Greg Neil
  • Jane Tankersley
  • Michelle French
  • ...and the Nobel Laureates
  • The Nobel Laureates who handed the Ig Nobel Prizes to the winners:
  • Dudley Herschbach, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry,1986
  • William Lipscomb, Nobel Laureate in Chemstry, 1976
  • Richard Roberts, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine,1993
  • ...and many others, who appeared in electronic form
  • A Surprise Appearance by David King, the Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government
  • The Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest
  • Gala Introduction of the Audience Delegations
  • The Traditional "Welcome, Welcome" Speech
  • The Traditional "Goodbye, Goodbye" Speech
  • Other wondrous things.
  • Portions of the ceremony were simultaneously translated into several languages (Italian, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Romanian, and Baby Talk), in a manner most pleasing.

* Time limits were enforced by Mr. John Barrett, the Ig Nobel Referee


On the day after the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, a related event:

The Ig Medical Lectures -- Friday, Oct 4, 2002, 3:00 pm.

The IG MEDICAL LECTURES were held at Snyder Auditorium, The Harvard School of Public Health.

Free admission.

A half-afternoon of improbably funny, informative, brief (10-15 minutes each), high-spirited lectures for the medical community and friends, in which the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize winners in the fields of

  • BIOLOGY;
  • INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH;
  • LITERATURE;
  • PEACE; and
  • MEDICINE

attempted to explain why they did what they did.

This free event was organized in cooperation with the Harvard University Press.


Two days after the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony another related event:

The Ig Informal Lectures -- Saturday, Oct 5, 2002. 1:00 pm.

The IG INFORMAL LECTURES were held at MIT, room 54-100.
Broadcast live on WMBR-FM 88.1

Free admission.

A half-afternoon of improbably funny, informative, brief (10-15 minutes each), high-spirited public lectures in which the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize winners in the fields of

  • BIOLOGY;
  • PHYSICS;
  • INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH;
  • CHEMISTRY;
  • LITERATURE;
  • PEACE; and
  • MEDICINE

attempted to explain why they did what they did.

This free event was organized in cooperation with the MIT Press Bookstore, MIT's VooDoo magazine, and WMBR radio.