Ig® Nobel Prize Ceremony & Lectures
All speeches will be kept delightfully brief, thanks in part to eight-year-old Miss Sweetie Poo. This short video shows highlights of various Miss Sweetie Poos doing their job at previous Ig Nobel Prize ceremonies.
The Ukrainian INTER TV network sent a crew to the 2010 ceremony. Click on the image (above) to see their report.
/ Previous years' details / Press contacts /
Sanders Theater, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The 20th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will introduce ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners. The winners will travel to the ceremony, at their own expense, from several continents. The Prizes will be handed to them by a group of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel Laureates, assisted by a large number of assorted Ig personnel, all before a perpetually standing-room only audience. The ceremony will include many other delights—see details below. (For the latest Ig Nobel news, see the blog.)
6:45 pm. — Boston Squeezebox Ensemble microbeconcert, in the theater lobby
7:15 pm. — Pathogenic Bacterial Pianoconcerto begins
7:30 pm. — Ceremony proper begins
Click for a map and directions, or to learn how to pahk your cah near Hahvud Yahd.
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There were webcast-watching parties in Philadelphia and Copenhagen and other places. Thanks to Ig Nobel Global Webcast Party Coordinator Neil Gussman for coordinating them.
TICKETSThe event was sold out. Tickets were available from Harvard Box Office.
All ticket-holders will receive free bacteria! (Please hold onto your ticket stub.)
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Photo from last year's ceremony: 2009 Ig Nobel chemistry prize winners Miguel Apátiga (dark jacket) and Javier Morales (light jacket) conclude their one-minute acceptance speech in timely fashion, thanks to a reminder from eight-year-old Miss Sweetie Poo. (The scientists placed the hat on Miss Sweetie Poo's head in response to her reminder.) Apátiga, Morales and Victor Castano were honored for creating diamonds from liquid — specifically from tequila. At right, several of the nine Nobel laureates who handed out the prizes and shook hands with the winners.
Evelyn Evelyn will perform a special, brief microbial miniconcert during this year's ceremony. They will be accompanied by their bacteria.
Marc Abrahams, founder of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, and several Ig Nobel Prize winners are the heroes in a two-episode (1, 2) manga published in Young Jump, Japan's most popular manga magazine. (NOTE: manga story writer Masanori Kadowaki will speak at the Ig Informal Lectures).
What to expect: Imagine every ceremony you have ever had to endure. Loop them all together, at high speed, upside down. Add ten Ig Nobel Prize winners. That's the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. (Some press previews: 1, 2, 3)
Theme: The theme of this year's ceremony (though not
necessarily of the individual prizes) is: BACTERIA.
In addition to the awarding of the 2010 Ig Nobel Prizes, the ceremony will include a variety of momentously inconsequential events:
- Keynote Address (60 seconds long): Richard Losick
- The Bacterial Opera: World premiere of
a mini-opera about the bacteria who live on
a woman's front tooth, and about that woman. The
cast of trillions (most of them microbial) features Maria
Gilbert, Thomas Michel, Marc Andelman, as
bacteria — and Jenny
Gutbezahl as The Woman. Stage-directed/conducted
by David Stockton. Pianist Branden
Grimmett. Costumes by Jenn
Words by Marc Abrahams. Music by Jacques Offenbach, Arthur Sullivan, and Giuseppe Verdi.
- Microbial Miniconcert by Evelyn Evelyn (and their friends Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley)
- Pre-pre-show Boston Squeezebox Ensemble microbeconcert in lobby (begins at 6:45 pm), led by Dr. Thomas Michel
- Pre-show Pathogenic Bacterial Pianoconcerto by Deborah Henson-Conant
- Ceremonial band music by Nicholas Carstoiu and Deborah Henson-Conant
- The Nobel laureates who will physically hand the Ig Nobel Prizes
to the new winners.
- Sheldon Glashow
- Roy Glauber
- William Lipscomb
- James Muller
- Frank Wilczek
- The 24/7 Lectures, in which several of the world's
top thinkers will explain his or her subject twice:
FIRST: a complete technical description in TWENTY-FOUR (24) SECONDS*
AND THEN: a clear summary that anyone can understand, in SEVEN (7) WORDS:
- The Big Question, in which three of the world's great thinkers will answer a question that has plagued humankind for centuries.
- The Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest
- Karen Hopkin, creator of the Studmuffins of Science Calendar
- Several Returning Ig Nobel Prize winners:
- Toshiyuki Nakagaki and Atsushi Tero (slime mold can solve puzzles)
- Dr. Elena Bodnar (invention of a bra that converts into 2 protective facemasks)
- Don Featherstone (creation of the plastic pink flamingo)
- Dr. Francis Fesmire ("Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage")
- Dan Ariely (high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine)
- Dr. Nakamats (photographing every meal he has consumed during a period of 34 years (and counting))
- Kees Moeliker (homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck)
- Christopher Chabris (people can overlook anything - even a woman in a gorilla suit)
- and perhaps others to be announced
- Gala Introduction of the Audience Delegations
- All speeches will be brief, and thus especially delightful
- The Minordomos (Genevieve Reynolds, Julia Lunetta, Peaco Todd, Zack Fisher, Julia Rios, Jenny Gutbezahl, Ben Biggs) will make most things run smoothly on stage.
- The V-Chip Monitor, Prominent New York Attorney William J. Maloney, will guard against offensive words, sounds, thoughts, or imaginings.
- Portions of the ceremony will be simultaneously translated into several languages, in a manner most pleasing.
- The Traditional "Welcome, Welcome" Speech
- The Traditional "Goodbye, Goodbye" Speech
- Other wondrous things
Who's Who: Click on the photo array to see many of the ceremony organizers and participants:
Radio: The ceremony will be recorded for later broadcast, in highlight form, (on Friday, November 26, the day after Thanksgiving) on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation/ Science Friday with Ira Flatow."
Downloadable poster: Click on the image at right for a downloadable 2010 Ig Nobel Ceremony Poster in spiffy PDF format. The poster is a great way to increase Ig Nobel and bacterial awareness among friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and complete strangers.
MIT Building 10, Room 250
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
(Click here for a map and directions)
FREE ADMISSION -- but seating is limited
A half-afternoon of improbably funny, informative, informal, brief public lectures and demonstrations:
- The new Ig Nobel Prize winners will attempt to explain what they did, and why they did it. [5 minutes each, plus a few questions & answers with the audience]
- Several few past winners will tell us about some of their new adventures [2 minutes each]
- Young Jump magazine manga story writer Masanori Kadowaki will explain why and how he wrote the story line for the Young Jump manga about the Ig Nobel Prizes.
And everyone will be available for you to talk with, both before and after the lectures.
This free event is organized in cooperation with the MIT Press Bookstore.
All Ig Nobel Prizes activities are organized by the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR). The ceremony is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association (HRSFA), the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students (SPS), the Harvard Computer Society, and the book The Man Who Tried to Clone Himself, published by Plume Books, New York, ISBN 0452287723.
The Ig Informal Lectures are co-sponsored by the MIT Press Bookstore.
About the Ceremony:
Annals of Improbable Research editor Marc Abrahams, (+1) 617-491-4437
Publicity director Jayson Zeeman, (+1) 248-464-9599
Ig Nobel facilitator Lisa Birk
[On September 30, the day of the ceremony, if you can't reach anyone at Improbable Research, please instead call the Harvard News Office, (+1) 617-495-1585]