Authority-Like Figures and Other Assorted Ignitaries, 2011
And please scroll down to see the principals in the mini opera Chemist in a Coffee Shop.
For a list of Nobel laureates, 24/7 Lecturers, and past Ig Nobel Prize winners who will also be part of this, see the ceremony web page.
Please enjoy this
never-yet-complete list of 2011 Ig Nobel ignitaries, literati, glitterati,
pseudo-intellectuals, quasi-pseudo-intellectuals, cogno-intellectuals and
assorted others who in some way are/were assisting in bringing the Ceremony into
(NOTE: ** indicates name is/was/will be misspelled)
Marc Abrahams (Producer/Director, Master of Ceremonies, Writer) founded the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. He also edits the magazine Annals of Improbable Research and its TV series, and writes newspaper columns. [See more detail below.]
Robin Abrahams (Lurking Presence) writes the popular "Miss Conduct" social advice column for the Boston Globe Sunday magazine and blogs at robinabrahams.com. She is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind Over Manners.
Dany Adams (Diplomat) is Associate Research Professor at the Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology. She gave one of the first 24/7 Lectures, which culminated in a seven-word definition of 'biology': "If it can get infected, it's biology."
Marc Andelman (Opera performer) is a character actor, inventor, and scientist. This is his third, or perhaps fourth, Ig. [See more detail below.]
Richard Baguley (Slide Show) is a Vice President of Editorial Development at Reviewed.com, where he develops new ways to torture gadgets such as digital cameras, televisions, and many more.
John Barrett (Referee) is a retired educator who stays active as a baseball umpire and soccer referee for high school and private leagues in Eastern Massachusetts.
Mike Benveniste (Photographer)
Ben Biggs (Minordomo)
Lisa Birk (Ig Nobel Press Facilitator) is a major organizing force deployed against chaos. Formerly, the Project Manager of the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University and at Roundtable Media, she is at work on a short story collection, Because Help Can't Wait.
Tabatha Bohmbach (Official Sweeper) is a former Miss Sweetie Poo.
Joost Bonsen (Performing Chemist) is a man about town, especially the MIT-related portions of town. He has performed, chemically, in many Igs.
Liraz Brand (Miss Sweetie Poo)
Dr. Jim Bredt (Human Spotlight) was a co-founder of Z Corporation and co-inventor of full-color 3D Printing. He taught freshman chemistry at MIT and drew a cartoon textbook on thermodynamics. He currently works as a materials scientist for 1366 Technologies, a solar startup in Lexington.
Constance Brichford (Human Curtain Rod) is a freelance writer and an enthusiastic but talentless gardener.
Nicholas Carstoiu (Bandleader, Singer, and Keyboardist) composes music conceived in free improvisation. Past mentors include composers Earle Hagen (film) and Ran Blake (piano). Credits include "Peak Impressions", an album of psychedelic rock music now housed in the Smithsonian Folkways collection.
Moss Collum (Minordomo)
Frank "Barefoot" Cunningham (Sound Recording)
Gary Dryfoos (Majordomo) is a scholar, a gentleman, and a majordomo. His majordomic qualifications include intensive specialized training, and owning his own tuxedo. This is his 20th Ig.
Stanley Eigen (Lurking Presence) has been with the Igs since the beginning. In addition to serving as Commutative Editor for the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, he is a math professor at Northeastern University (and yes, his name really is Eigen). This is his 21st Ig.
Alexey Eliseev (Photographer)
Dave Feldman (Master Technician emeritus)
Maria Ferrante (Opera Soloist) enjoys an active career as recording artist, recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician, in the United States and abroad. This is her fourth year at the Igs. [See more detail below.]
Rose Fox (Onstage Lurking Presence, Human Aerodrome) is a professional wordsmith who serves as AIR's Dissociative Editor. This is her fifth year making the arduous trek from New York to Boston to participate in the Igs.
Holly Gettings (Lighting & Technology (Special Thanks))
Roberta Gilbert (Opera soloist) is trilling and thrilling in her fourth Ig. [See more detail below.]
Roy Glauber (Official Sweeper) is Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University. In 2005, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics. For ten years prior to that, he swept paper airplanes from the stage at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony; he has not ceased to continue this tradition.
Jean Berko Gleason (Welcome Welcome Speaker, Goodbye Goodbye Speaker) is professor emerita of psychology at Boston University. She is the inventor of the Wug Test. She owns a tiara.
Branden Grimmett (Opera Pianist) is a Boston-based accompanist and vocal coach. This is his fourth Ig. [See more detail below.]
Neil Gussman (Global Webcast Party Coordinator) is communications manager at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. He also rides enormous distances on bicycles, and reads books —lots of them.
Jenny Gutbezahl (Minordomo) is delighted to be involved with the Ig Nobels for the second consecutive year. Her first year, she also co-starred, silently in her pajamas in the opera. When not herding Nobel laureates like cats, Jenny enjoys taking long walks on the beach, arguing about the appropriate condiments for soft pretzels, and maintaining homeostasis. [See more detail below.]
Hunter Heinlen (Lighting & Technology)
David Holzman (Photographer) has had multiple shows of classic car photos, and sells photo art at motorlegends.com. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Smithsonian, JNCI & elsewhere. He has a remarkable speaking voice.
Karen Hopkin (Parade Announcer, Opera Narrator), biochemist-turned-science writer, announces the opera and the Win-a-Date contest, and all sorts of things. At the 2004 Ig, Hopkin led the musical tribute to Daisuke Inoue, the inventor of Karaoke, who was awarded that year's peace prize. She is co-author of the textbook Essential Cell Biology. In her spare time, Hopkin bakes pies and collects the signatures of Nobel Laureates on a 1950s-style autograph dog. This is her 21st Ig. [See more detail below.]
Dariusz Jemielniak (Diplomat) is head of Center of Research for Organizations and Workplaces (CROW) and associate professor of management at Kozminski University. He studied managers as lazy stupid careerists, playful behaviors at work, irony and failures in ethnography, time as symbolic currency, as well as software engineering as an artistic profession, and his book on the new knowledge workers is forthcoming.
John Jenkins (Ig Informal Lectures (Saturday) Coordinator) is manager of the MIT Press Bookstore. This is his nth Ig.
Joanna Jemielniak (Diplomat) is an associate professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. She specializes in international business law and arbitration, as well as in theory of legal discourse. Her recent work focuses on legal interpretation and argumentation in international commercial arbitration. Joanna runs marathons, windsurfs and practices iaido.
Susan Kany (Diplomat) has, for more than 20 years, been perfecting her diplomatic skills within Harvard's administration.
Alice Shirrell Kaswell (Writer) is a staff writer for the Annals of Improbable Research. This is her 21st Ig.
David "DK" Kessler (Co-Producer and Stage Manager) is knowledgable about theater, logistics, Scottish history, and whisky.
Joshua Kroll (Assistant Stage Manager, Webcast Coordinator, Lighting & Technology) is a third-year graduate student in computer science at Princeton University. He became involved in the Ig during his dear old college days and nights at Harvard.
Tom Lehrer (Act 5 Lyricist) is rather good with words and numbers, and with music. His song "The Elements", which he kindly gave us permission to use and mis-use in tonight's ceremony, is the best (and most efficient) song ever written about chemistry. [See more detail below.]
Julia Lunetta (Minordomo, Improbable Webmaster) is a 12-year veteran minordomo. In addition to being a professional geek, she is also a semi-professional actress and musician, and an amateur human.
Joe Maguire (Diplomat)
Lois Malone (Artwork & Logos) drew "The Stinker", the logo of the Annals of Improbable Research and of the Ig Nobel ceremony. Formerly at MIT, she now paints, sculpts, and designs houses in the mountains of New Mexico.
William J. Maloney (V-Chip Monitor, Prominent New York Attorney) will also be appearing as Himself.
Katherine Meusey (Improbable Facilitator) oversees most of the logistics for the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. She does similar things for (and is Circulation Director for) the magazine Annals of Improbable Research. She is considered an authority on French bulldogs.This is her second year at the Igs.
Dr. Thomas Michel (Founder and maestro, Boston Squeezebox Ensemble, opera soloist and accordionist) plays accordion and is Co-Director of the Leder Program in Human Biology and Translational Professor of Medicine (Biochemistry) and Federman Chair in Medical Education at Harvard Medical School. He has been in many Igs. [See more detail below.]
Bruce Petschek (Videographer) is a freelance videographer. His production company, Seven Generations Video, has been videotaping the Igs for as long as anyone can remember and he is the chief editor of the Ig Nobel collection series on YouTube. His three children have all grown up working on the Ig Nobel video production crew since they were 6 years old and despite this formative experience they have all grown into fairly well-adjusted adults.
Gus Rancatore (Diplomat) is the proprietor of Toscanini's Ice Cream. In 2007 he invented a new ice cream flavor to honor Mayu Yamamoto, who that year won the Ig Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovering how to extract vanillin from cow dung.
Rich Roberts (singer) is the leading practitioner of hat innovation at every Ig Nobel ceremony. Now chief scientific officer at New England Biolabs, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1993 for his role in discovering split genes. Tonight he will sing a song that, like chemistry itself, has been in his head and heart since childhood.
Genevieve Reynolds (Major Minordomo) is in her 11th year marshaling Ig winners and Laureates. In her spare time, Ms. Reynolds enjoys watching sheep herding trials.
Daniel Rosenberg (Performing Chemist, and opera soloist) prepares and performs demonstrations for all the chemistry classes and many of the physics classes in the Harvard Science Center, and is a teaching fellow for many Harvard chemistry classes. He fathered two Miss Sweetie Poos, a Human Spotlight and a sweeper. He has led the performing chemist in many an Ig. Tonight is his debut as an opera soloist. [See more detail below.]
Isabelle Rosenberg (Diplomat) is a former Human Spotlight and Human Curtain Rod. She has given birth to two Miss Sweetie Poos and a Human Spotlight.
Katrina Rosenberg (Human Spotlight) is a freshman at Northeastern University.
Sylvia Rosenberg (Official Sweeper) is a former Miss Sweetie Poo.
Louise Sacco (Grand Panjandrum of the Delegations) is the Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director of the Museum of Bad Art. She is also a fan photographer at Fenway Park and cohost of the Frugal Yankee Radio Hour.
Rob Sanders (Lighting & Technology) is still amazed that the simple statement "I love the Igs," has somehow ensured him perpetual employment, albeit for only 2 days a year. This is his 16th Ig.
Miles Smith (Sound Recording) is a freelance audio engineer based in the Boston area, is currently on staff at WGBH Radio, is chief engineer for the Spanish Beisbol Network, works with "This American Life", and has had a hand in three Grammy-nominated albums. Most important, he has been involved in many, many Igs.
Quentin Smith (Webcast/Broadcast Engineer) has been playing with wires down the street at MIT for the past 4 years, first and an MIT undergrad, now as a Google person. His latest project is to build a digital waterfall. In his spare time, he works on cool video projects with MIT Student Cable.
Naomi Stephen (Press wrangler), between academic administrative and teaching careers, and being in the Ig for this, her umpteenth pluse one time, has had lots of experience with all kinds of wrangling.
David Stockton (Opera Stage Director/Conductor) has directed many kinds of operas, yet never before has he done a chemistry opera. This is his fourth Ig. [See more detail below.]
Geri Sullivan (Artwork & Logos, IgBill Design and Layout, Slide Show) is a graphic designer at her own firm, PROmote Communications, and is the design and layout director of the Annals of Improbable Research.
Vaughn Tan (Diplomat) is a Harvard graduate student in sociology, and also at Harvard Business School. He studies and experiments with coffee, among other things.
Peaco Todd (Minordomo) works as a political columnist/cartoonist and professor. Her work can be found at peacotoons.com and porkbarrelcomix.com.
Corky White (Diplomat) is a food anthropologist, based at Boston University. She presently is engaged in research on urban social spaces and social change in Japan, particularly on the history of the cafe. She is perhaps the world's greatest professional scholar of Japanese coffee culture.
Mira Wilczek (Onstage Lurking Presence)
Eric Workman (Prize, Props and Scenery Creation, Performing Props Master) creates unusual things at Boston's Museum of Science. He has been designing and building Ig Nobel Prizes for well over a decade.
Chemist in a Coffee Shop — Principals
The opera Chemist in a Coffee Shop will premiere as part of the 21th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony. It's a five-act drama about a chemist who goes into a coffee shop and meets the people who brew and serve delicious chemicals.
David Stockton (Opera Stage Director/Conductor) is shaping the performance of his fourth Ig Nobel mini-opera. That aside, he is recognized as one of Boston's "musical legends" by The Christian Science Monitor, he is the former Artistic Director of Boston Concert Opera and a veteran conductor at numerous opera houses of the world. A native of Texas, David Stockton completed his doctoral studies at the University of Miami where concurrently he served as guest conductor for the Miami City Ballet and the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. During a five-year residency in Germany, Stockton conducted in the opera houses of Wiesbaden, Erfurt and Detmold. His concert with soprano Katia Ricciarelli and the Radio Philharmonie Leipzig created a European live radio broadcast from the Leipzig Gewandhaus. Stockton recently returned to Europe for a concert with the West Bohemia Symphony in Marianbad, the Czech Republic. A highlight for David was conducting concerts with famed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan (pictured above). A graduate of the School of Fine Arts at West Texas State University, Boston University and New England Conservatory of Music, Stockton served as Assistant Conductor for Sarah Caldwell's Opera Company of Boston before becoming Artistic Director of Boston Concert Opera, a professional orchestra and chorus with world-renowned soloists. Performing in Boston Symphony Hall, Stockton conducted over forty operas. He introduced Boston audiences to the operas of Leos Janacek, including the American premiere of Janacek's Osud (Destiny). He has frequently been a judge for the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in Boston and Cleveland and a Guest Conductor at Eastman School of Music.
Branden Grimmett (Opera Pianist) is said to be delighted to join the Ig Nobels for the fourth consecutive year. Highlights of Branden's career have included several significant premieres. In 2009, he served as harpsichordist for the premiere of Handel's Messiah in Tomohon, Indonesia, conducted by André de Quadros. In 2007, he was the organist for the Boston premiere of Arvo Pärt's Passio with the Boston Choral Ensemble, under the direction of Miguel Felipe. He was also the featured accompanist for the Boston Gay Men's Chorus Boston premiere of When We No Longer Touch: A Cycle of Songs for Survival by Kristopher Jon Anthony. In June 2009, Branden was the music director and organist for the United Church of Christ's (UCC) 27th General Synod in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also served as the organist at the previous UCC Synod and 50th Anniversary Celebration in Hartford, Connecticut, where Bill Moyers and then-Senator Barack Obama were the featured keynote speakers. Branden is a board member of the UCCMNN and a member of the editorial committee for the UCC songbook, Sing! Prayer and Praise (Pilgrim Press 2009) and accompaniment edition.
Maria Ferrante (soloist: Barista) is starring in her fourth Ig Nobel mini-opera. She has appeared throughout the United States in concert and oratorio and opera. The petite soprano's operatic roles range from the great stage heroines (Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata, Pamina in Mozart's Magic Flute, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Liù in Puccini's Turandot, Rosalinda in Strauss' Die Fledermaus, and Mimi in Puccini's La Bohème), to serving girls (Despina in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, Barbarina in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Serpina in Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona, and in Englebert Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel. Equally at home on the concert stage, Maria has sung Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Mahler's Symphony No. 4, Poulenc's Gloria, Fauré's Requiem, Gounod's St. Cecilia Mass, Handel's, Britten's Les Illuminations, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, Orff's Carmina Burana, and Verdi's Requiem. Critic Alice Parker wrote that she "handled the wide tessitura, complex lines and German diction [of Berg's Seven Early Songs] with ease, matched by Mr. Gilbert Kalish's accomplished pianism." She has collaborated with world-renowned artists as: Abba Bogin, Richard Stoltzman, Colin Jacobsen, Miroslav Sekera, Seymour Barab, Sheldon Harnick, Xavier de Maistre (harp), Ben Verdery, Jason Vieaux, Arnold Steinhardt and composers Joseph Summer, William David Brohn and Arnold Black. She is a member of the chamber ensemble, Mistral, (where she sang "I Never Saw Another Butterfly..." with saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky) and the acclaimed Worcester Chamber Music Society. Maria's new release, "Best Kept Secrets" with pianist Lincoln Mayorga explores nineteenth-century passionate song. Her recent CD "Sea Tides and Time", devoted to the theme of water and its preservation, received a rave review from the Boston Herald, "[Ms. Ferrante] known for her lilting soprano voice and probing mind... brings a supple and colorful approach to a broad variety of repertoire." The Boston Globe said: "Superb."
Roberta Gilbert (soloist: Barista), mezzo-soprano, is starring in her fourth Ig Nobel mini-opera. Equally proficient in opera and musical theatre, Ms. Gilbert has performed with the Santa Fé and the Central City, Colorado opera companies, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Opera Co. of Boston, Boston Concert Opera, American Classics, Blue Pumpkin Productions, Castle Hill, and the North Shore Music Theatre. Appearances as concert soloist include the Boston Chorus pro Musica, the Newton Choral Society, the John Oliver Chorale, Brookline Youth Concerts, North Shore Music Theatre, Paul Madore Chorale, and the Salem Philharmonic Orchestra. On the dramatic stage, she has appeared with Playwright's Platform, Theater-in-Process and performed in two productions of Tennessee Williams' play, "Orpheus Descending" with the Boston Actors' Ensemble, where she was acclaimed for her dramatic and comic timing. She also created the role of Laura Shore in Jeff Flaster's high-tech musical, "Tortoises" and has performed live in the WGBH studios. Ms. Gilbert has a particular love for the music of Mahler, and for Edwardian Music Hall repertoire. She is a graduate of Boston University and the Boston Conservatory.
Dr. Thomas Michel (Soloist: Coffee shop customer) Thomas Michel, MD, PhD is a professor at Harvard Medical School and a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He has appeared in numerous operas over the years, but never before in a singing role. His major roles in those non-Ig productions have included: Sword-carrier in Aida; Lantern-bearer in Il Trovatore; Reveler in La Boheme; and Pike-flourisher in Carmen. Michel is also the founding musical director of the Boston Squeezebox Ensemble, which is the official accordion quintet of the IgNobel Prize Ceremony. He has performed internationally on the accordion, as well as in Harvard Square, where he plays in the busking duo "Yesterday's Bait" with noted fiddler/computational biologist Ted Sharpe. He has been in many Igs.
Daniel Rosenberg (Performing Chemist, and opera soloist) prepares and performs demonstrations for all the chemistry classes and many of the physics classes in the Harvard Science Center, and is a teaching fellow for many Harvard chemistry classes. He fathered two Miss Sweetie Poos, a Human Spotlight and a sweeper.
Karen Hopkin (Opera Narrator), biochemist-turned-science writer, has narrated most of the Ig Nobel mini-operas. She is perhaps the only living human who has conducted research, either professionally or recreationally, in each of the scientific topics upon which those operas are based. She once spent a year carrying a lamp everwhere she went.
Marc Andelman (Coffee shop customer) is a character actor, inventor, and scientist. Possessed of great technical knowledge of chemistry, he is deeply appreciative of the coffee consumed during rehearsals for Chemist in a Coffee Shop. This is his fourth Ig.
Marc Abrahams (Opera story and words, with the exception of one song) founded the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. He also edits the magazine Annals of Improbable Research and its TV series, and writes newspaper columns. Chemist in a Coffee Shop is his 16th Ig Nobel opera.
Jacques Offenbach (Opera music) wrote the music for many operas, including Orpheus in the Underworld and The Tales of Hoffman, and then he died, and then he became a co-author of Chemist in a Coffee Shop.
Georges Bizet (Opera music) wrote the music for many operas, including Carmen, and then he died, and then he became a co-author of Chemist in a Coffee Shop.
Johannes Brahms (Opera music) wrote a great deal of symphonic, chamber and popular music, including Hungarian Dance #5, and then he died, and then he became a co-author of Chemist in a Coffee Shop.
Arthur Sullivan (Opera music) wrote the music for many operas, including The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance, and then he died, and then he became a co-author of Chemist in a Coffee Shop.
Tom Lehrer (Act 5 Lyricist) is rather good with words and numbers, and with music. He is an historical anomaly: the best professional mathematician ever to also be a professional songwriter, and the best professional songwriter ever to also be a professional mathematician. His song "The Elements", which he kindly gave us permission to use and mis-use in tonight's ceremony, is the best (and most efficient) song ever written about chemistry. He attended the very first Ig Nobel Prize ceremony in person, and has made it a point of pride to never be physically present at another.
Luigi Denza (opera music) wrote many songs, including "Funiculi Funicula", and then he died, and then he became a co-author of Chemist in a Coffee Shop.
BONUSES: Video of last year's mini-opera, "The Bacterial Opera" (scattered through ough the video of the 2010 Ig Nobel ceremony).
Video of the previous year's opera, "The Big Bank Opera", with much the same cast. The Ig Nobel ceremony theme that year (2009) was was RISK: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4.