The 2013 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 at previous ceremonies.
- The Winners
- The Ceremony (September 12)
- Live Internet Broadcast
- Webcast Watching Parties
- TICKETS (and Delegations)
- Download the IgBill (booklet), and Spiffy Poster
- Ceremony Details (including the Opera)
- Who's Who
- If you are coming to Sanders Theatre...
- Ig Informal Lectures (September 14)
- Previous years
- Info for the press
The 2013 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony
Thursday, September 12, 6:00 pm**
Sanders Theater, Harvard University
*Pre-ceremony concert begins at 5:40 pm (US Eastern Time)
The ceremony proper begins at 6:00 pm - earlier than in previous years
The 23rd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony introduced ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners. Each has done something that makes people laugh then think. The winners traveled to the ceremony, at their own expense, from several continents. The Prizes were handed to them by a group of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel Laureates, in Harvard's historic, largest theater filled with 1100 improbable persons, everything webcast live. The ceremony included many other delights —see details below. (And For the latest Ig Nobel news, see the blog.)
Live Internet Broadcast
The ceremony was webcast live, here on www.improbable.com and on about 20 major news and science sites. (Here's the brief teaser.) Here's the full recording:
TOP-SECRET: We provided a second, parallel video feed, as a courtesy to the world's security agencies. Here is a recording of that NSA Courtesy Cam feed:
[NOTE: This NSA Courtesy Cam video feed went dead part way through the ceremony. Some people have suggested that the feed was terminated by the NSA; for legal or other reasons we are not commenting on that conjecture]
Webcast Watching Parties
There was a special party in Leiden, the Netherlands, two days after the ceremony,
with a live performance of the earlier Ig Nobel mini-opera Atom and Eve.)
This event has past. You can stay informed about upcoming Ig Nobel events by joining our private E-mail list.
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Groups of five (5) or more persons attending the Ig Nobel prize ceremony can be officially recognized during the ceremony as Official Delegations. If you would like your group regonized in this way at a future Ig Nobel prize ceremony, first obtain tickets, then register with Louise Sacco, Official Overseer of the Delegations (phone: 781-690-6621, email: LouiseSacco AT gmail.com). The deadline for registering as a delegation is a week before the ceremony. These details will be included in the webpage for next year's ceremony.
Downloadable Booklet & Poster
Download your very own PDF copies of the 2013 Ceremony's IgBill (program booklet) and Spiffy Poster. Both are identical to the ones we print for the ceremony, and the poster in particular is a great way to increase Ig Nobel and universal awareness among friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and complete strangers.
|FIGS (Friends of the Ig) — Generous supporters of the 2013 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, who are helping the world laugh then think:|
Ten New Ig Nobel Prize winners were announced and introduced.
The winners physically received their prizes, and a handshake, from these genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel laureates:
- Dudley Herschbach (chemistry, 1986)
- Eric Maskin (economics, 2007)
- Roy Glauber (physics, 2005)
- Frank Wilczek (physics, 2004)
The theme of this year's ceremony (though not necessarily of the individual prizes) was: FORCE.
In addition to the awarding of the 2013 Ig Nobel Prizes, the ceremony included a variety of momentously inconsequential events. Among them:
- Pre-Pre-Ceremony Concert (in the lobby, 5:00-5:30 pm) by the Boston Squeezebox Ensemble
- Pre-Ceremony Mega-Micro Concert (in the theater, 5:40-5:55 pm), "Show of Force", by electric-harp dynamo Deborah Henson-Conant, founder & curator of the Burnt Food Museum
- Two grand Paper Airplane Deluges, one at ceremony's beginning, the other at the midpoint
- The 24/7 LECTURES, in which several of the world's top thinkers each explained her or his 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
- World premiere of "THE BLONSKY DEVICE"
- a mini-opera inspired by the life and work (US patent #3216423, "APPARATUS FOR FACILITATING THE BIRTH OF A CHILD BY CENTRIFUGAL FORCE") of 1999 Ig Nobel Prize winners George and Charlotte Blonsky
- directed, arranged and orchestrated by Henry Akona
- story and lyrics by Marc Abrahams, music by Gounod, Beethoven and Rossini
- Maria Ferrante, soprano, as Charlotte Blonsky
- Martin Kelly, tenor, as George Blonsky
- Philip Lima, baritone, as The Zookeeper
- Miles Rind, bass, as The Patent Examiner
- with an all-star biomedical orchestra, "The Forces of Nature", composed of Harvard and MIT physicians and researchers:
- Accordion: Thomas Michel (Harvard Medical School Professor of Medicine)
- Violin: Ted Sharpe (computational biologist at the Broad Institute)
- Cello: David Fisher (Harvard Medical School Professor and Chair of Dermatology)
- Flute: Elizabeth Henske (HMS Professor of Medicine) >
- Bassoon: Ben Steinhorn (HMS MD-PhD student)
- Clarinet: Abby Schiff (HMS MD-PhD student)
- Trombone: Chris Ramirez (Harvard College undergrad)
- Percussion: David Gootenberg (HMS MD-PhD student)
- with a special on-minute lecture, "The Biomechanical Forces Involved in Human Childbirth", by Daniel Lieberman (co-winner of the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize for physics, for explaining why pregnant women don't tip over)
- Returning Ig Nobel Prize winner Daniel Lieberman (2009 physics prize)
- Ceremonial music by Nicholas Carstoiu and The Ig Leaves
- Salutes to the Audience Delegations
- The Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest
- Two special Moments of Science, by performing chemists Daniel Rosenberg and Joost Bonsen
- Karen Hopkin, creator of the Studmuffins of Science Calendar
- Gala Introduction of the Audience Delegations
- All speeches were brief, and thus especially delightful, with assistance from 8-year-old Miss Sweetie Poo.
- The Minordomos made most things run smoothly on stage.
- The V-Chip Monitor, Prominent New York Attorney William J. Maloney, guarded against offensive words, sounds, thoughts, or imaginings.
- 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:
If You Are Coming to Sanders Theatre...
WHERE: If you are walking, driving, T-ing, biking, or running to Sanders Theatre, you may want some directions. Here are: (1) a map and directions; and (2) the secret of how to pahk your cah near Hahvud Yahd.
WHAT TO WEAR: We suggest you wear clothing, It's good to wear clothing that is, like you, colorful. People like yourself (or in some cases, very unlike yourself) in distant places, watching the broadcast and seeing occasional glimpses of the Sanders Theatre audience, will thrill to the panoply of colors, styles, and improbable accoutrements. This is the night to unearth your old wedding gown, uniform, suit of armor, labcoat or longjohns.
WHAT TO BRING: Paper, paper, paper. Paper to make into paper airplanes. Additional paper to give to those around you who may have
forgotten to bring their own paper, and who as a consequence of their own neglect are forlornly wishing they could join in the thrill
and intellectual romance of making and throwing paper airplanes. SAFETY FIRST, please! Paper airplanes should be thrown at the
safety-equipment-laden individual onstage who is the Designated Paper Airplane Target. NOTE: There will be two (2) designated Paper
Airplane Deluge periods, one at the very start of the ceremony, the other at the ceremony's midpoint.
The Ig Informal Lectures
Saturday, Sep 14, 2013, 1:00 pm.
MIT, Building 26, room 100, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
A half-afternoon of improbably funny, informative, informal, brief public lectures and demonstrations:
- The new Ig Nobel Prize winners attempted to explain what they did, and why they did it
- The MIT community celebrated the work of George Blonsky—a 1925 graduate of MIT!—and his wife, Charlotte. The Blonskys were awarded an Ig Nobel Prize, in 1999, for their invention (US patent #3216423, "APPARATUS FOR FACILITATING THE BIRTH OF A CHILD BY CENTRIFUGAL FORCE"). The new opera about the Blonskys and their work premiered on September 12, as part of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.
- The new winners were available for you to talk with, both before and after the lectures
This free event was organized in cooperation with the MIT Press Bookstore.
Afterwards, Anna H, a member of the MIT class of 2014, wrote about her experience at the lectures. Her photo essay is posted on the MIT Admissions Blog.
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) and the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students (SPS).