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The 24/7 Lectures

Each year at the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, we invite some of the world's top thinkers to tell us what they are thinking about.

            Each 24/7 Lecturer explains their topic twice:
                  First, a complete, technical description in 24 seconds
                  Then, a clear summary that anyone can understand in 7 words


Lectures by year:
                                            2016
2015   2014   2013   2012   2011
2010   2009   2008   2007   2006
2005   2004   2003   2002   2001

The Heisenberg Certainty Lectures

Errata and Missing Information


Prof. William Lipscomb, flanked by referee John Barrett &
  V-Chip Monitor William J. Maloney
Prof. William Lipscomb, flanked by referee John Barrett & V-Chip Monitor William J. Maloney

Enforcement

     The Referee.  The 24 second time limit is enforced by Mr. John Barrett. When not on the Ig Nobel stage, Mr. Barrett is a referee at sporting events. Clues to what sport he has been referreeing most in the previous year can be found in his outfit and manner.  Each year he offers this advice to the lecturers: "Gentlemen, keep it clean!"

     The V-Chip Monitor.  Noted New York Attorney William J. Maloney monitors each lecture to ensure that no offending material is presented. (NOTE: in 2014 the role of V-Chip was very ably performed by Harvard Physics Professor Melissa Franklin.)





2016


Topic:  Clock Genes

Lecturer:  Rich Roberts    (Nobel Laureate, Biochemist at New England Biolabs)

Rich Roberts, 2016 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "The original Circadian Locomotor Output Cycles Kaput or CLOCK gene encodes a basic helix-loop-helix-PAS transcription factor called CLOCK that is one of a family of genes that control circadian rhythm in mammals. More than 20 genes are involved with such catchy names as "Period" and "Cryptochrome". The products of many of them are activate on others in..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Clock genes are responsible for jet lag."

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  Had time allowed, the lecturer might have continued with "...successive fashion making up an auto-regulatory feedback loop for which one complete cycle takes about 24 hours".

When in the ceremony video:  0:37:16


Topic:  Duck Genital Morphology

Lecturer:  Patricia Brennan    (Evolutionary Biologist and Behavioral Ecologist, specializing in the morphological evolution of reproductive structures)

Patricia Brennan, 2016 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "In many species of ducks, males often fail to attract a mate, so they resort to forcing copulations on females. Males can sexually force females because their penis functions with an explosive eversion mechanism that quickly and forcefully inseminates females, despite their resistance. Females however have coevolved vaginas with dead ends and spirals that prevent full penis eversion when she is not receptive" [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Deviant duck dicks foiled by fabulous vaginas."

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  Had time allowed, the lecturer might have continued with "...This genital coevolution shows how sexual conflict results in evolutionary arms races.".

When in the ceremony video:  0:38:23


Topic:  Time

Lecturer:  Dudley Herschbach    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of chemistry at Harvard University)

Dudley Herschbach, 2016 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Time is precisely the difference between now and then. Cosmologists assure us that it began in a Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. The universe has been expanding ever since. Recent discoveries show the expansion is accelerating. If that continues the cosmos will become both infinite and eternal... " [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Time and tide won't wait for us."

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:   The Lecturer received a Yellow Warning Card from the Referee for ignoring the whistle (mutiple times) and continuing with, "...But within 5 billion years the sun will turn into a red giant and swallow our earth... ".

When in the ceremony video:  0:52:23


Topic:  Fluid Dynamics

Lecturer:  Nicole Sharp    (Engineer, Ph.D, and creator of FYFD, the world's most popular web site about fluid dynamics)

Nicole Sharp, 2016 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Fluid Dynamics - A branch of clasical mechanics derived from 19th century hydrodynamics and hydrology that recapitulates the locomotion of mutable substances. Governed by a series of unsteady, nonlinear partial differential equasions of the second order including continuity, energy, Navier-Stokes, and in some cases Maxwell's equations and multi-species reactions. Subdisciplines include rheology, combustion, granular mechanics, aeroelasticity, magnetohydrodynamics, hemodynamics, lubrication theory, and quantum hydrdynamics." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "If it can flow, we study it."

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:53:59





2015


Topic:  Firefly Sex

Lecturer:  Sara Lewis    (Tufts Professor of Evolutionary Behavioral Ecology, author of "Silent Sparks")

Sara Lewis, 2015 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Fireflies are beetles in the family Lampyridae that use bioluminescent signals to find mates. Flying males broadcast signals as they search for females, who respond to intraspecific variation in male flash timing: Females prefer longer flashes and faster flash rates. Firefly females mate with multiple males, so postcopulatory sexual selection has driven males to invest heavily in nuptial gifts. These are nutritious sperm-containing spermatophores that females use to provision their eggs. Males with larger gifts benefit because they sire more offspring." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Female fireflies favor fancy food-filled flashers"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The lecturer brought a firefly finger-puppet to use as a visual aid.

When in the ceremony video:  0:47:22


Topic:  Beauty

Lecturer:  Frank Wilczek    (Nobel Laureate and Professor of Physics at MIT)

Frank Wilczek, 2015 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Beauty is what we experience when the external world stimulates our reward system, causing a release of dopamine we feel as pleasure. Natural selection uses this device to encourage behavior that increases fitness. Sexual partners are beautiful; so are things that makes sense." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Beauty: We like it when we see it."

[Actual Number of Words Used:  8]

When in the ceremony video:  0:49:00


Topic:  Reproduction

Lecturer:  Deborah Anderson    (Boston University Medical School Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Microbiology, and 2008 Ig Nobel Prize Winner)

Deborah Anderson, 2015 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Life depends on reproduction; All living organisms do it. Unicellular organisms do it by asexual, binary fission. Multicellular organisms produce gametes which fuse. Human reproduction involves internal fertilization by sexual intercourse. During this process, the male inserts his erect penis into the female's moist vagina and ejaculates semen which contains sperm." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Protists multiply by dividing, humans prefer sex"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The V-Chip Monitor appeared to be concerned, but did not halt this lecture.

When in the ceremony video:  0:50:17


Topic:  Life

Lecturer:  Jack Szostak    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Alexander Rich Distinguished Investigator at Massachusetts General Hopital)

Jack Szostak, 2015 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "The first protocells used nonenzymatic chemical processes to replicate ribonucleic acid templates by primer extension with 2-methyl-5'-phosphorimidazole-activated nucleotide monomers. To understand and improve this process we look at monomer binding by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, x-ray crystallography, and study reaction kinetics using synthetic substrate analogs, kinetic isotope effects, quantum mechanical modeling, and molecular dynamics. [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Life from chemistry: how did it happen?"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:58:09


Topic:  Internet Cat Videos

Lecturer:  Jessica Gall Myrick    (Assistant Professor at Indiana University Media School)

Jessica Gall Myrick, 2015 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "My study, called 'Emotion regulation, procrastination, and watching cat videos online: Who watches Internet cats, why, and to what effect?', published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, provided empirical data on predictors and subsequent effects of consuming audiovisual feline-focused media. Mood management theory successfully predicted respondents' reports that post-consumption emotions were more positive than pre-consumption, and the experience also left viewers feeling energized. A moderation-mediation model demonstrated that guilt from using online felines to procrastinate could be overcome by the positive emotional payoff of viewing this genre." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Grumpy Cat can actually make us happy"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:59:30





2014


Topic:  Income Inequality

Lecturer:  Eric Maskin    (Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics at Harvard University)

Eric Maskin, 2014 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony




In 24 Seconds:  "The dispersion of the income distribution as measured by the Gini coefficient - not to be confused with the 'I dream of Gini' coefficient - has expanded in many developed and emerging economies. One explanation is skilled-biased technical change, wherein the productivity of high-skill workers is enhanced by technical progress more than for their lower-skilled contemporaries. An alternative theory by Thomas Piketty works through the interest rate exceeding population growth. Critics say Piketty's theory is ricketty. He says they're too persnickety." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "The rich get richer. The poor... don't"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The Lecturer's written notes point out that Picketty's theory works through the differential between interest and population growth rates.

When in the ceremony video:  0:36:21


Topic:  Food

Lecturer:  Corky White    (Professor of Anthropolopgy at Boston University, Co-Author of The Ig Nobel Cookbook vol.1)

Corky White, 2014 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony


In 24 Seconds:  
  "Pacojet, Taco lab, Vat meat, Soylent.
    Nathan Myrvold, Harold McGee, Ferran Adria, Sous vide.
    Michael Pollan, Colonel Sanders, Uncle Ben.
    Roy Choi, Roy Rogers, Ottolenghi, Julia Child.
    Forager, Paleo, Locavore, Gleaner.
    Insectivore, Gluten-free, Cannibal, Vegan.
    Hostess Twinkies, Chicharrones, Ramen, Haggis!" [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Pemmican to Nordic - Ess ess mein kind"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The lecturer divided her "Food Rap" into these categories: Food Science, Food People, Food Diets, and Food.

When in the ceremony video:  0:38:13


Topic:  Telomeres

Lecturer:  Carol Greider    (Nobel Laureate and Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University)

Carol Greider, 2014 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony



In 24 Seconds:  "Telomeres are repeated DNA sequences, TTAGGG, TTAGGG, etc. that protect chromosome ends. Every time a cell divides, some sequence is lost and telomeres shorten. However! Telomerase can come to the rescue and elongate telomeres by adding TTAGGG, TTAGGG, etc... So telomeres are in a continuous equilibrium: shortening and lengthening, shortening and lengthening, when they are too short, cells die. " [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Telomeres: keeping your cells alive since... forever"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:58:53


Topic:  Metabolism

Lecturer:  Rob Rhinehart    (Creator of Soylent, an "open-source nutritional drink")

Rob Rhinehart, 2014 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony


In 24 Seconds:  "Metabolism can be understood as two complimentary processes: Catabolism, which breaks down organic matter into constituent matter and energy via cellular respiration, and anabolism, which builds these components back up into useful complexes, such as proteins and nucleic acids. Enzymes are the proteins that are keys to these chemical transformations. Fundamentally, metabolism is about controlling the flow of energy which originates in the super-hot core of the sun via fusion." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Thanks to enzymes, humans are solar powered"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  After this lecturer was done, The attending Nobel Laureates were given glasses of soylent to drink. Most of them drank it.

When in the ceremony video:  1:00:15





2013


Topic:  Torque

Lecturer:  Dudley Herschbach    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of chemistry at Harvard University)

Dudley Herschbach, 2013 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Torque is a force proportional to the rate of change of angular momentum with time. Applied to any object torque will accelerate or decellerate its rotation. The extent of the acceleration is inversly propotional to the moment of inertia of the object. Among myriad applications are gyrations of ballet dancers, launching of boomerangs, and birthing of elephants." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "To start or stop spinning apply torque"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:45:25


Topic:  Statistics

Lecturer:  Xiao Li Meng    (Professor of Statistics at Harvard University. Department Chair. Dean of Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)

Xiao Li Meng, 2013 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Z-test, T-test, chi-squared test, I can help you to face any test. Bayes, frequentist, fiducial: let me make you feel influential. Regression, correlation, causation: what else can generate more passion? Skewedness, kurtosis, heteroscedasticity: boy, do I feel sexy!" [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "The only crystal ball approved by God"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:46:20


Topic:  Force

Lecturer:  Melissa Franklin    (Professor of Physics at Harvard University. First tenured female in Harvard Physics faculty)

Melissa Franklin, 2013 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Force keeps me down, spins me round, keeps my atoms bound, keeps my motion Brown makes my coffee drip my muscles rip my protons flip my DNA zip and unzip it makes my cells divide my brain decide my microtubules grow and subside. Force makes things go and not go, and/or go and not go." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Equal opposite attractive repulsive bang ding crash ow!"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  8]

When in the ceremony video:  0:47:30





2012


Topic:  The Universe

Lecturer:  Roy Glauber    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Physics at Harvard University, Ig Nobel Paper Airplane Sweeper)

Roy Glauber, 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Well, Astronomy as I know it is a peaceful study; think of the milky way and the early image of the andromeda nebula. But then we began using more of the spectrum and seeing everything from microwaves to x-rays. Cosmic rays, evidently of violent origin, and pulsars and quasars and black holes and now planets..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Why does such a universe keep us enrapt, because it's the ony one we've got"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  15]

When in the ceremony video:  0:50:30


Topic:  Mass Spectroscopy

Lecturer:  Erika Ebbel Angle    (Biochemist, Founder the education group Science from Scientists. 2004 Miss Massachusetts)

Erika Ebbel Angle, 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "A mass spectrometer separates and detects ions according to the mass-to-charge ratios. Identification of an unknown compound begins with a determination of its molecular mass. Additional structural information is derived from fragmentation, and SMS [Scanning Mass Spectrometry] of the parent, or intact, molecules. Through interpretation of fragmentation patterns, it is possible to piece together the structures of potential compounds of interest." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "It weighs the bits in your gunk"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:   0:51:54


Topic:  The Possibility of Arsenic Based Life In Our Universe

Lecturer:  Rich Roberts    (Nobel Laureate, Biochemist at New England Biolabs)

Rich Roberts, 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony


In 24 Seconds:  "Arsenic, element number 33, is a fearsome poison beloved by royalty for centuries. NASA space scientists improbably suggested that some bugs could live on arsenic. Now arsenic and phosphorus are related in the periodic table, forming similar compounds: phosphates, arsenates, phospholes, arsoles - yes, arsoles! Pure arsole awaits isolation, but pentaphenylarsole was described in 1961, showing that even chemists have a sense of humor....." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Only arsoles believe arsenic can support life"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:53:10


Topic:  Electro Muscular Incapacitation

Lecturer:  Elena Bodnar    (Manager of the Electrical Trauma Research Program at the University of Chicago, Founder and President of Trauma Risk Management Research Institute)

Elena Bodnar, 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Electro-muscular incapacitation is the physiological response to use of devices such as tasers, stun guns, batons and other so-called less-lethal weapons which liberally apply electric pulses in the microsecond range, causing muscle contraction followed by a period of induced incapacitation. Uncertainties and gaps in knowledge exist about cellular systemic mechanism and human consequences. Risks associated with these effects..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "You really don't want to be tased"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:54:28






24-7 Enforcement Team
Wiliam J. Maloney and Robert Barrett, keeping it clean



2011


Topic:  Stress Responses

Lecturer:  Susan Lindquist    (Professor of Biology at MIT, 2010 National Medal of Science)

Susan Lindquist, 2011 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Brief sub-lethal exposures to diverse proteotoxic stresses induces a highly orchestrated cellular response that counteracts [unintelligible] and necrotic cell death pathways through the deployment of molecular osmolytes, protein folding reagents, remodelling factors, and deubiquidating and ubiquidating ligases" [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "What doesn't kill you makes you strong"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:56:03


Topic:  Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes

Lecturer:  Donna Nelson    (Professor of chemistry at University of Oklahoma, Nanotechnology Researcher, Science Advisor to TV show Breaking Bad)

Donna Nelson, 2011 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "We analyzed functionalized single-wall carbon nanotubes by using NMR. Initially we found that the analyses were not reproducible. They seemed to depend upon how long the samples sat before analysis. We thought the nanotubes might be rebundling, so we tried sonicating the sample just before taking the NMR. That produced consistent results." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Nanotube analyses should be shaken not stored"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:57:13


Topic:  Chemistry

Lecturer:  Dudley Herschbach    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of chemistry at Harvard University)

Dudley Herschbach, 2011 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony



In 24 Seconds:  "Laser-induced fluorescence spectra have been obtained for OH radicals produced when hydrogen atoms and NO2 react in thermal energy collisions in the region where two beams containing the reagents intersect. Spectra of the (0,0), (1,1), (0,1), (1,2), (0,2), and (1,3) bands of the A doublet sigma to X doublet pi system have been observed. Distributions of OH over the whole energetically accessible range of rovibrational levels have been determined using surprisal analysis..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Molecules are seldom vicious although often capricious"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:58:30


Topic:  Vaginal pH

Lecturer:  Kate Clancey    (Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Illinois, author of Blog Context and Variation)

Kate Clancey, 2011 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony


In 24 Seconds:  "The pH of a healthy premenopausal vagina is 3.8-4.5. This means that your vag is more acidic than your skin, water, and semen, which is 7.2-7.8. The vagina will even produce more acid in the presence of semen, in order to regulate pH. When vaginal pH is more basic you are susceptible to bacterial infections. Douching makes it more basic and flushes out your normal vaginal flora more extensively and forcefully than ejaculate. Then the fragrance irritates vaginal tissue. So those ads that tell you to Hail to the V with their weird talking hand vaginas? If you really want to Hail to the V you will let your vag be." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Leave your acidic vagina alone, don't douche"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes: This lecturer provided an alternate 7 word version: "Vaginas should smell like vaginas not flowers"

When in the ceremony video:  1:00:05





2010


Topic:  Slime Mold

Lecturer:  Toshiyuki Nakagaki    (Professor of Complex and Intelligent Systems at Future University, Hakodate. Winer of 2 Ig Nobel Prizes for his research on slime mold)

Toshiyuki Nakagaki, 2010 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Slime mold looks like just a spread of mustard and mayonnaise. But it is very organized as an organism. So slime molds can solve puzzles and find out the shortest connection path in a maze. And slime molds can anticipate periodic environmental events. And slimes molds..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "The blob we shouldn't look down upon"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:14:49


Topic:  Oral Bacteria

Lecturer:  Mary Ellen Davey    (Research Biologist at the department of Molecular Genetics, The Forsyth Institute)

Mary Ellen Davey, 2010 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "There's an extremely complex community of organisms that lives in the oral cavity. In order to survive, they must attach. They tend to attach along the gum line, on the tooth. Here, they make a tenacious, extracellular polysaccharide matrix that holds them together and protects them, thus creating dental plaque." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "A sticky, slimy structured medley of microbes"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:15:59


Topic:  Writer Identification

Lecturer:  Neil Gaiman    (Author, winner of Hugo, Nebula, and Carnegie Prizes)

Neil Gaiman, 2010 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Whenever you are in doubt as to whether the thing on the back of the book jacket is a writer or a bacterium, given the human population of six billion people and positing that no more than half of them are published writers, that give us a maximum of three billion writers. There are about five nonillion bacteria on this planet. So the chances of a random life form on the back of the book jacket being a bacterium and not a writer are roughly three sextillion to one." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "It's probably a bacterium, not a writer"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:17:00





2009

Topic:  Nanotechnology

Lecturer:  Wade Adams    (Professor at Rice University, Nanotechnology Researcher)

Wade Adams, 2009 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "$2.7 trillion industry by 2015 solutions to the top 10 problems facing humanity in the next 50 years. Gold nanoshells: cancer therapy. Buckyballs: MRI contrast enhancers. Graphene ribbons: oil recovery. Carbon nanotubes: ballistic conducting grid wire. Nanoelectronics: smaller, faster, cheaper. Nanophotonic: sensors. Nanomembranes: water filtration. Ultra-lightweight, strong nanocomposites: energy-efficient SUVs. Rick Smalley's challenge be a scientist save the world!" [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Nanotechnology: making small stuff do big things"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:06:31


Topic:  Economics

Lecturer:  Paul Krugman    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Economics at Princeton University)

Paul Krugman, 2009 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Decentralized constrained optimization by maximizing agents with well-defined convex objective functions and/or convex production functions, engaging in exchange and production with free disposal, leads, in the absence of externalities, market power, and other distortions, to convergence on equilibrium characterized by Pareto optimality." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Greedy people, competing, make the world go round"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  8]

Lecture Notes:  The lecturer wrote an opinion piece about hs 24/7 lecture for the New York times in which he offers and explanation for using 8 words, and suggests an alternate version using only 7-words. The piece includes, "Wow. I admit that I wrote that pretty fast - and somehow never noticed that it was 8 words! Let's chalk it up to rounding error."

When in the ceremony video:  1:07:40


Topic:  Genius

Lecturer:  Stephen Wolfram    (Creator of Wolfram-Alpha and of Mathematica, and author of the book, A New Kind of Science)

Stephen Wolfram, 2009 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Everyday, lots gets discovered and invented. It's actually pretty predictable. There's a flow to it. Genius is something alien. It's hard to measure or classify - that's the point. One day, most of it'll come from machines, but for now it's just us, single people with, at most, one big idea per lifetime." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "A surprise to the sequence of civilization"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:08:54


Topic:  Contraception

Lecturer:  Deborah J. Anderson    (Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine, and 2008 Ig Nobel Medicine Prize winner)

Deborah Anderson, 2009 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Reliable, reversible contraception. Women have pills, rings, patches, implants, sponges, and IUDs, spermicides, diaphragms, cervical caps, female condoms, and Plan B. Men have condoms, and did I mention condoms?" [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Male contraception: sheathe it or beat it"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:10:04






2008

Topic:  Cryptography

Lecturer:  Anna Lysyanskaya    (Associate Professor of computer science at Brown University)

Anna Lysyanskaya, 2008 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "A cryptographic system is secure if, no matter what probabilistic polynomial-time algorithm the bad guys are using, they still can't hurt the good guys. To prove security, we typically relate the computational complexity of launching an attack to that of a computational task known or believed to be impossible. Although for certain scenarios unconditionally secure solutions exist, security of others relies on established complexity-theoretic assumptions." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "It ain't secure 'til you prove it"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:01:43


Topic:  Biology

Lecturer:  Dany Adams    (Biologist at the Forsyth Center)

Dany Adams, 2008 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Biology is full of redundancy. At the molecular level proteins can act as surrogates. For example two wingless receptors, Frizzled and Dfrizzled2¹, can function redundantly upstream of the armodillo gene, while regulation of the armadillo protein is by the redundantly Src64 and Src42A². At the organismal level, the reproductive strategy of the nine-banded armadillo also exploits redundancy: females invariably give birth to identical quadruplets³." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "The armadillo's message: have a plan B"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The lecturer later sent us references for her 24-7 Lecture:
    1. "Frizzled and Dfrizzled-2 Function as Redundant Receptors for Wingless During Drosophila Embryonic Development," P. Bhanot, M. Fish, J.A. Jemison, R. Nusse, J. Nathans and K.M. Cadigan, Development, vol. 126, no. 18, 1999, pp. 4175-86.
    2. "Requirements of Genetic Interactions Between Src42A, armadillo and shotgun, a Gene Encoding E-cadherin, for Normal Development in Drosophila," Mayuko Takahashi, Fumitaka Takahashi, Kumiko Ui-Tei, Tetsuya Kojima, and Kaoru Saigo, Development, vol. 132, no. 11, 2005, pp. 2547-59.
    3. "Heredity and Organic Symmetry in Armadillo Quadruplets," H.H. Newman, Biology Bulletin, vol. 24, no. 1, 1915, p. 1.

When in the ceremony video:  1:02:51


Topic:  Redundancy

Lecturer:  William Lipscomb    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, d.2011)

William Lipscomb, 2008 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Redundancy. Exceeding what is unnecessary. Superfluous. Verbose. You find this throughout, and yet the content is not there, but the content is always there..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "The source of real original thought is not present in the definition of redundancy"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  14]

When in the ceremony video:  1:03:55






2007

Topic:  Food Science

Lecturer:  Massimo Marconi    (Assistant Professor of Food Science, University of Guelph)

Massimo Marconi, 2007 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Food science is an interdisciplinary applied science which uses principles of experimental design and statistical analysis in the examination of all aspects of food from harvest of ingredients to their behaviour during formulation, processing, storage and evaluation as consumer food products. It incorporates concepts from a variety of fields including chemistry, microbiology, and process engineering. In a nutshell, food science is concerned with all quality, nutritional, sensory, cultural, and safety aspects of foods." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Foods that don't kill make you fatter"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:47:54


Topic:  Research Ethics

Lecturer:  Fariba Houman    (Interim Director of Human Subjects Administration at the Harvard School of Public Health)

Fariba Houman, 2007 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "The ethical conduct of non-exempt human subjects research is governed a set of rules codified by 45 CFR part 46. In a phase II trial of avian flu vaccine in a cohort of animal handlers processing broiler chickens..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Research on animal handlers needs IRB approval"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:49:04


Topic:  History

Lecturer:  Jill Lepore    (Professor of American History at Harvard University)

Jill Lepore, 2007 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "History is in the doing. Travel to an archive, repository, or library. Bring a pencil, fill out a little yellow call slip. Read the chicken-scratch of letters, diaries, love-notes, and speeches , scrapbooks or unopened mail of strange and wondrous people you've never met and never will, though you probably wish you could have. Find out everything you can about how they understood why hens lay eggs. Think about it, think about it some more, and then make up some cock and bull story." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "History is the study of dead people"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:02:16


Topic:  Chicken

Lecturer:  William Lipscomb    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, d.2011)

William Lipscomb, 2007 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "It is very surprising how many references there are on the internet for chicken. Unbelievable. I could go through them but I don't have much time here. No one has asked why a chicken crosses the road: to cross the road..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Chicken lays egg. It's a standing ovation"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture notes:  after the lecturer completed this 24/7, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

When in the ceremony video:  1:03:21





2006

Topic:  Automobile Safety

Lecturer:  Missy Cummings    (Associate Professesor at Duke University, Director of the Humans and Automation Laboratory at MIT, US Navy Fighter Pilot)

Missy Cummings, 2006 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "In-vehicle telematics can significantly load the visual channel, resulting in structural interference which can negatively impact driving performance. Cognitive load disrupts recognition memory, resulting in longer latencies to perterbations of the driving ecology as well as trajectories that violate critical safety boundaries. Telematic interaction degrades the encoding and transfering of..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Don't talk. Don't email. Just drive"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  6]

When in the ceremony video:  0:52:09


Topic:  Dark Matter

Lecturer:  Frank Wilczek    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Physics at MIT)

Frank Wilczek, 2006 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Everything we're familiar with is made up of quarks, gluons, photons, and electrons. But something else is holding galaxies together, and something else again is blowing the universe apart. The part we understand is five per cent of the total. Maybe the rest is axions, maybe photinos, maybe something else. I hope to live to see the day when we find out what it is." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "What you see isn't what you get"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:53:23


Topic:  Fractals

Lecturer:  Benoit Mandelbrot*    (Professor of Mathematics at Yale University, father of Fractal Geometry, d.2010)

Benoit Mandelbrot, 2006 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Let X be a metric space, and let me define Hausdorff measure and Hausdorff dimension. Don't, don't, don't let me - it has very little to do with the story. In fact Hausdorf dimension was discovered by a man named Besicovitch, who was a very funny..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Beautiful, damn hard, increasingly useful, that's fractals"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:54:33


Topic:  Gray Parrots

Lecturer:  Irene Pepperberg    (Professor of Psychology at Brandeis University, Director of the Alex Foundation, Researcher on animal cognition, particulrly in birds)

Irene Pepperberg, 2006 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "For thirty years I've used a modeling technique to establish communicative competence with Psittacus erithacus. They can identify colors, shapes, manner, and numbers. We study communicative competence, transitive inference, stimulus equivalence. They understand concepts of bigger, smaller, same, different, and absence. We also study mutual exclusivity and conjunctive recursive tasks." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Parrots use English to demonstrate exceptional intelligence"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:09:37


Topic:  Inertia

Lecturer:  William Lipscomb    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, d.2011)

William Lipscomb, 2006 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "When I was approached, it occurred to me to talk about the Higgs mechanism - how particles get their mass, which of course gives them inertia. However, it's too complicated to present, so I come back to the physiological effects only. And, and I went to sleep, I woke up, and I found..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Inertia makes me go back to sleep"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The lecturer was the graduate school advisor of fellow-24/7 Lecturer Irene Pepperberg

When in the ceremony video:  1:11:51





2005

Topic:  Morphology

Lecturer:  Rebecca German    (Vice Chair for Research at the Dep't for Physical Medicine and rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins University)

Rebecca German, 2005 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Morphology is a property of an object with the visual appearance that exists in some two, three dimensional space. It can be measured by eigenfunctions of the bending energy matrix, interpreted as the actual warped surfaces over the picture of the original landmark configuration as the product of the phenotypic process portrayed by Procrustes' paradigm of partial [unintelligible] of PCA." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "It's not just size, shape matters too"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:49:09


Topic:  Infinity

Lecturer:  William Lipscomb    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, d.2011)

William Lipscomb, 2005 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Did you know that there are just as many even numbers as there are even and odd numbers together, when you have inifinities - when they are at inifinity. In fact, Cantor defined a collection is infinite if some of..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Weird things can happen with these infinities"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:50:17


Topic:  Purring

Lecturer:  Richard Jakowski    (Associate Professor at Tufts Cummings School of Veterniary Medicine)

Richard Jakowski, 2005 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Purring results from the low-frequency oscillation of the caudal portion of the soft palate, which is more elongated in cats than other mammalian species. This places the feline soft palate and the laminal airstream betwen the posterior choana and the rima glottis, resulting fluttering from the posterior portions producing an audible sound in the range of 50 to 200 hertz. The purring mechanism is similar to the flapping uvula of a snoring person however, rather than keeping us awake..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "The cat's purr is a melodious snore"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:51:27


Topic:  The Human Mind

Lecturer:  Robin Abrahams    (Psychologist, Miss Conduct columnist, author)

Robin Abrahams, 2005 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "The complexity and efficiency of the human mind was not fully appreciated until attempts to create artificial inteligence systems led to the discovery that so called 'common sense', such as the ability to understand jokes, or that it is inadvisable to begin building a tower of blocks starting at the top, is in fact extraordinarily difficult to program into computers. Turns out we're smarter than we knew. However, research also shows that human cognition is prone to an infinite number of 'bugs', such as binary thinking..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "People are brilliantly stupid, and stupidly brilliant"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:01:02


Topic:  What Is Life

Lecturer:  Lynn Margulis    (Distinguished University Professor at University of Massachusetts)

Lynn Margulis, 2005 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "The secret of life: Up beyond the termite's asshole - that's the anus - in her murky gut, the wood feeding termite harbors the secret of life. What is it? A community becomes an individual the arithmatic of the living. One plus one is one." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "If you feel you're falling apart, you are"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  8]

When in the ceremony video:  1:02:12

Lecture Notes:  The Lecturer may have been addressing the topic, "The Secret of Life"




2004

Topic:  Heredity

Lecturer:  Rich Roberts    (Nobel Laureate, Biochemist at New England Biolabs)

Rich Roberts, 2004 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Heredity is a chronic, incurable disease that is sexually transmitted and caused by a lethal mixing of human genes in parents. Certain parentental unions produce an acute form, as found in the House of Lords, Appalacia, and most of Saudi Arabia. Genghis Khan was personally responsible for 25% of the current pandemic. New research shows that President Bush may have a cure in hand; he advocates abstinence or, as they say in Texas, 'keep it in your jeans'" [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Heredity means blame your parents, not yourself"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:53:20


Topic:  Evolution

Lecturer:  Eugenie Scott    (Executive Director of National Center for Science Education)

Eugenie Scott, 2004 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "In the beginning there was a big bang, then hydrogen, stars, galaxies, planets, a pale blue dot, a replicating molescule, then a cell, tissues, photosynthesis, metazoa, an inordinate number of beetles, lions and tigers and steves oh my, and consciousness to figure it out and wonder at it all." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Evolution is the mystery of the universe"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:54:34


Topic:  Diet

Lecturer:  Barry Sears    (Creator of "The Zone Diet")

Barry Sears, 2004 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "How do you balance protein carbohybate and fat at every meal to keep your hormones - insulin, glucagon, and eicosanoids - in a zone" [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Hormonally speaking, you are what you eat"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:12:20


Topic:  Oceanography

Lecturer:  Sylvia Earle    (National Geographic Society Explorer In Residence)

Sylvia Earle, 2004 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "The science of exploring 60,000 kilometers of mountains, 97% of life on earth, 97% of earth's water with .0097% of the funding needed to do the job. Accomplished by boat-loads of people who naturally go overboard, are always in deep thought or deep in trouble, who's business is going under, who pride themselves in being all wet and deal with drips all the time." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Scientific exploration of most of the earth"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The Lecturer provided an alternate 7 word version: "Scientifically plunging in way over your head"

When in the ceremony video:  1:13:18





2003

(n.b. In honor of the 2003 ceremony's theme, Nano, this year's lectures were known as "The Nano Lectures")

Topic:  Slow Light

Lecturer:  Lene Hau    (Professor at Harvard. "First Human being to slow light to a crawl and then to a dead stop")

Lene Hau, 2003 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Secret recipe for beating light on your bike: Atom refrigerator, candlestick, atomic beam source, Zeeman slower, resonant radiation pressure force, optical molasses, polarization gradient cooling, 4D magnet, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, nano-Kelvin, field-effect transistor, avalanche breakdown, superfluid Bose Einstein condensate, ultra-high vacuum, laser illumination, polarization control, light pulse injection, entangled atoms, quantum interference, superposition dark state, light pulse compression, superfluid shock waves. Voila: SLOW PHOTONS!" [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Stop light: warm up exercise. Real goal: time stop"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  9]

When in the ceremony video:  0:52:55




Topic:  Memory

Lecturer:  Yan Emily Yuan    (Junior at Boston Latin Secondary School)

Yan Emily Yuan, 2003 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Investigations in neuronal and non-neuronal memory encodings are usually based on memory acquired and retained during classical conditioning techniques, or socialized aproaches such as auto-biographical memory priming, combined with neuro-behavioral, neuro-pathological, and neuro-physiological studies of functional anatomic correlations such as hippocampal synaptic plasticity." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Remember this will be on the test"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:54:04


Topic:  Chemistry

Lecturer:  William Lipscomb    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, d.2011)

William Lipscomb, 2003 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds: "According to Tom Lehrer: hydrogen, lithium, berylium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, fluorine, [unknown] sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, phosphorous, sulphur, [unknown], Argon, potassium, scandium, titanium, venadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickle, copper, germanium, arsenic, selenium, bromine, rubidium, strontium, ytterbium, zirconium, melibdinum..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "What is chemistry? Elementary my dear Watson"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The Lecturer's 7 word answer, wasn't delivered quite as cleanly as here transcribed

When in the ceremony video:  0:55:11


Topic:  Education

Lecturer:  Genevieve Reynolds    (Senior at Harvard College)

Genevieve Reynolds, 2003

In 24 Seconds:  "Education: learn to remember, but an whole lot more. Sensory integration, processing proprioceptive feedback. Learning to build neural networks complex enough to handle complex thought. Auditing sensory feedback. learning what you need to know; do you need to study that page? I don't think so. And a whiole lot of acronyms: we have SUPs, we have SIPs, we have under-performing schools, it's really all about learning to remember the acronyms." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Harvard University taught me that learning is..."

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:15:34

Lecture Notes:  Lecturer kept her 24-second lecture handy by writing it on a paper airplane stuck into her hairdo


Topic:  The Genome

Lecturer:  Eric Lander    (Founder of The Whitehead Instute, MIT Center for Genome Research)

Eric Lander, 2003 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Human genome project biology's moonshot. 15 years, 6 countries, 20 centers. 3 billion dollars, 3 billion letters; one dollar per letter such a deal. 23 chromosomes supposed to contain 100,000 genes, turns out to contain 30,000 maybe 25,000 could be 40,000 - check back with us next year. Supposed to have the answer to everything, absolutely everything: Diabedes, asthma, cancer, evolution, population, migration, life, death, taxes, even the Boston Red Sox, only problem is, no index." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Genome: bought the book; hard to read"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:16:30





2002

Topic:  Biochemistry

Lecturer:  Rich Roberts    (Nobel Laureate, Biochemist at New England Biolabs)

Rich Roberts, 2002 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Biochemistry describes ant acids, beetle biotins, crab kitins, dog DNAs, elk enzymes, frog fats, giraffe genes, hog hormones, ivy introns, jumping genes, krill keratins, lamb lipids, mass mutants, newt nuclei, owl oleates, pig periplasm, quahog quadruplets, rabbit RNA, shrew sugars, tadpole trioses, urchin ureasers, viper venoms, welk warts, xerophyte xanthates, [unknown] yaks, zebra zygotes" [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Biochemistry explains life for chemists, not physicists"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:26:33


Topic:  Neurobiology

Lecturer:  Anne Hart    (Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School)

Anne Hart, 2002 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "To elucidate and explicate our ability to cogitate with principles enumerated by Hebb, Cajal, and Sherington. Intrepid neuroscientists study the cortex and the cerebellum, neurons glial astrocytes and corpus colossum, using immuno-histology, neuro-anatomy, molecular biology, electro physiology, classical genetics and neuro pharmacology. Augmented by double stranded RNA and protein mass spectrometry , ethology, behavior, and electronmicroscopy, biochemistry, and more elctrophysiology, attempt to integrate the data from homo sapiens to C. elegens to clarify the fundemental basis of our consciousness..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "The brain still fails to understand itself"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:27:40


Topic:  Technology

Lecturer:  Ira Flatow    (Host of NPR's "Science Friday" program)

Ira Flatow, 2002 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "It is well established that many technologies, under certain conditions and when influenced by the geopolitical and egalitarian conflicts, result in the frank exchange of views by competing parties who desire to influence the very acts and infrastructures that bring them to the present state, and yield nothing but significant and necessary conditions for the triumph of meaningless and widespread techno-jargon." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Hal, open the pod bay doors, Hal"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:52:00


Topic:  Language

Lecturer:  Jean Berko-Gleason    (Professor of Psychology at Boston University, creator of The Wug Test)

Jean Berko-Gleason, 2002 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Language is a hierarchically structured cognitive and psycho-linguistic system encompassing phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. The Wug Test reveals the presence of internalized inflectional morphology in pre-operational individuals. Development procedes in stages from reduplicated open syllables through hic et nunc utterances to ultimate adult communicative competence." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Babies babble, children prattle, adults create haiku"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:53:06


Topic:  Animals

Lecturer:  Sip Siperstein    (Veterinarian at Angel Memorial Hospital)

Sip Siperstein, 2002 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "A veterinarian's day is fraught with hazards, namely the risk of precious Fifi's mandibles. Frankly, she's none to pleased with the unsolicited rectal palpations. In the last year alone, I have accrued numerous bites, requiring: 4 accident reports, 2 regimens of wide spectrum antibiotics, and 1 rabies booster. The dermal insult to my face was delivered by a disoriented, heavily medicated, otherwise well-intentioned greyhound, who once off his pain medications returned to his former friendly self. Bite wounds can be delivered by any of a number of genus/species: Canis familiaris (dog); Felis catus (cat); Amazona Oratrix (yellow-headed amazon); and Iguana Iguana (Iguana)." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "It's truly a dog eat Doc world"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  This lecturer brought a dog onstage with her

When in the ceremony video:  0:54:21



Topic:  Astrophysics

Lecturer:  Alyssa Goodman    (Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University, Smithsonian Research Associate)

Alyssa goodman, 2002 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "At least eleven dimensions are needed to explain the formation of the universe. After the vacuum energy during the period of inflation, quarks began to form hadrons, but leptons persist. The universe's surface of last scattering at z of a thousand is imaged by observing the cosmic microwave background. The DASI interferometer discovery of the polarization of the CMB gives important new constraints on key cosmological perameters such as omega, lamda, and H-naught. It is debatable whether adaptive measure SPH codes can properly simulate the next 3 billion years..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Star light, star bright, it's my job"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The Referee's ruling seems particularly startling in this case
Given more time, it is believed that the lecturer would have continued her lecture thus: "...the next 3 billion years, which, in reality, produced elliptical, lenticular, and spiral galaxies. The study of those galaxies' evolution from redshift ten to zero requires that we understand the formation and evolution of dark matter, intergalactic and interstellar dust, stars, and planets. My colleagues' recent discovery that dark energy may also pervade the Universe makes all of our jobs significantly more complicated."

When in the ceremony video:  1:13:30


Topic:  Music

Lecturer:  Robert Marshall    (Professor of Music at Brandeis University)

Robert Marshall, 2002 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Music, traditionally, is a series of hierarchically layered, temporal prolongations of a teleologically focused harmonic melodic ursatz, projected onto the sounding foreground by means of horizontalization of simultaneities, composing-out of diminutions and Stimmtausch operations. Of course, matters are no so simple today with dodecaphonic serial techniques, microtonal pitch spectrums, and structured silence." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  The lecturer delivered his synopsis in musical notes rather than words  (see Lecture Notes, below)

[Actual Number of Words Used:  0]

Lecture Notes:  The lecturer provded this notation for his synopsis:

        notation for Robert Marshall's 24/7 lecture (2002)

After delivering his 7-word synopsis musically, rather than in words, the lecturer added, "but if I had to do it in 7 words, I would say, 'If it sounds good it is music'"

When in the ceremony video:  1:14:38






2001

Topic:  Computers

Lecturer:  Margo Seltzer    (Professor of Computer Science at Harvard)

Margo Seltzer, 2001 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "All the computer's electronic, the hardware and software merely players. It has its bytes and its bit, each bit taking on many values. It's cardinality being two. At first the zero: grounding and sinking in its memory array. And then the one: with shiny electrons flashing, counting powers of two in increasing numbers. Last state that teminates this strange binary existance is re-booting..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "Computer software: good fast, cheap - pick two."

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:23:23


Topic:  Biology

Lecturer:  Dany Adams    (Professsor at Smith College)

Dany Adams, 2001 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Biology recapitulates life's relationships. For example there are initiation factors such as [unknown]. Vocal contacts and compliments stimulate countercurrent exchange histo-compatiability and zinc fingers can give rise to chemiosmotic coupling but germ cells can cause sticky ends. while degenerate codons and gross anatomy such as [unknown] epiphytes which usually result in a..." [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  "If it can get infected, it's biology"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The Lecturer provided this annotative key to be helpful:
  Chemiosmotic coupling: the connection of ATP production to proton diffusion in mitochondria
  Complement: non-immunoglobulin protein components of the immune response
  Countercurrent exchange: any system wherein molecules or heat move between tubes containing fluids flowing in opposite directions
  Degenerate codons: a collection of more than one triplet DNA sequence, each of which encodes the same amino acid
  Epiphytes: non-parasitic plants that live on the surfaces of other plants
  Focal contacts: the site of attachment of a cell to its substrate
  Germ cells: the cells that will differentiate into gametes
  Gross primary production: the total energy captured by plants in a particular area
  Histocompatibility: the measure of whether tissues will trigger an immune response; it is determined by proteins on the surfaces of cells
  Initiation factors: proteins required for the initiation of DNA transcription
  Peroxisomes: Cellular organelles containing peroxides
  Resonance hybrids: two equally stable forms of a molecule
  Spongy parenchyma: loosely packed photosynthetic cells, usually found in the lower epidermis of leaves
  Sticky ends: single stranded sequences found at the ends of otherwise double stranded that has been cut with certain endonucleases
  TATA box: a DNA sequence found approximately 32 base pairs upstream of the transcription initiation site
  Zinc Fingers: proteins that bind DNA and affect transcription rates

When in the ceremony video:  0:24:55


Topic:  Art

Lecturer:  Don Featherstone    (Creator of the plastic pink flamingo, Ig Nobel Prize Winner, d.2015)

Don Featherstone, 2001 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Whether you're doing something classical, or whether you're doing something impressionistic, modernistic - art must have some basics. Balance, design, color and if you're just throwing paint on a canvas, you have to know when you've hit it just right to have the combination. Otherwise it'll be another Museum of Very Bad Art.  [to the referee]  I've got more time?" [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Art is the appreciation of creation"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  6]

When in the ceremony video:  0:51:06


Topic:  Sex

Lecturer:  Ellen Spertus    (Professor of Computer Science at Mills College. Declared 2001 "Sexiest Geek Alive")

Ellen Spertus, 2001 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "A conundrum of habnid evolution is the runaway growth of the human brain in the past 2500 millennia at a pace inexpicable through natural selection is evidenced by the long delay in technological innovation. The neural explosion is better explained through sexual selection which can explain runaway hypertrophy as the result of female mate selection for cranially endowed men." [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Brainy ancestors considered sexy, why not us?"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:52:16


Topic:  Science

Lecturer:  David Jones    (Chemist and author of Nature Magazine's Daedalus column)

David Jones, 2001 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 24 Seconds:  "Science is those recipes which always work - experimental observations. It is the theories and principles built on those observations; the universe in priciple. It is the attitude of those who make the recipes to extend their theories and principles. It is tentative, [unknown] dogmatic [unknown], but the facts behind it make it immensely powerful" [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Science is predictively understanding the physical world"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:23:27


Topic:  Physics

Lecturer:  Melissa Franklin    (Professor of Physics at Harvard University. First tenured female in Harvard Physics faculty)

Melissa Franklin, 2001 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony


In 24 Seconds:  "Describe any physical phenomema: ham in box, ham with fox, ham on train, ham in rain. In different space times: ham here, ham there. Generalize: ham anywhere. Wite equasions, notice similarities, make one equasion, make it shorter, make it greek, make new symbols that are short, make them script, make it really really short, just three symbols. Stop, scratch your head, draw stick figures instead. Take equasion: predict past and future, pause. Describe many phenomena: ham in boat, ham with goat" [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  "Describe motion of matter and ask why"

[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  1:25:01







David Jones, 2001 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony
David Jones giving his 2001 lecture





Before the The 24/7 Lectures were invented, there were...

    The Heisenberg Certainty Lectures


Each Heisenberg Certainty Lecturer had 30 seconds to speak on a topic of his or her own choosing. The time limit was enforced by the Referee, Mr. John Barrett.


These lectures are named after The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which in turn is named after Nobel Laureate Werner Heisenberg. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that, while you can determine either the location or the momentum of a sub-atomic particle, it is impossible to accurately measure both of them at the same time.

1999


Lecturer:  Dudley Herschbach    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of chemistry at Harvard University)

Dudley Herschbach, 1999 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "Nearly everyone has heard of the famous principle of Heisenberg and learned that it inhibits knowing both where we are and where we're going. What's stranger still is that it even insists that every particle in motion must persist. [His phone rings] Hi. Yes. Yes. How're you doing? Good that's what our grand-daughter always says to me. I'll go right on here... [returning to his presentation while keeping the phone at his ear] How odd therefore it is that nobody has remarked about a lexicological oddity: The name 'Heisenberg' could signify a premonition or a pun since it means a burning, scorching hot mountain. For when a rumbling volcano erupts and overflows, an ancestral elf may be asserting what it knows..." [Time called by the Referee]

When in the ceremony video:  0:59:19




Lecturer:  Mimi R. Koehl    (Professor of Integrative Biology at The University of California, Berkeley)

Mimi Koehl, 1999 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "This is an aerodynamical analysis of Congress. Lift is proportional to area times velocity squared. The area of agreement between Republicans and Democrats is small and the velocity of anything in Congress is low, therefore lift is very small. Distance travelled is proportional to lift divided by drag - since lift is low, and since congressional speeches are an enourmous drag, nothing will get anywhere. But remember, power equals force times distance per time, and since distance is so close to zero, congress has rendered itself powerless." [Within the time limit]

When in the ceremony video:  1:10:58




Lecturer:  Leon Fisher    (1999 Ig Nobel Prize Winner)

NAME, 1999 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "With every cup of tea I've drunk I've always sought the perfect dunk. How long the biscuit takes to get the optimum degree of wet. And now I've found it: 3.5 seconds on average, so I've re-tested my experiments with vital facts, it makes good sense to check them out. A gingernut is quickest, held obliquely, but remember the imprinted side must be held downwards in a wide, hot, full cuppa; while a hobnob will do a simply scrumptuous job. No need to find your biscuit's shrunk when a great chunk of it has sunk. Boffins have proved - so don't debunk - the true platonic ideal dunk." [Within the time limit]

When in the ceremony video:  1:28:00




Lecturer:  JoAnn E. Manson    (Professor, Dep't of Epidemiology, Harvard Medical School)

JoAnn Manson, 1999 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "Since I spend most of my time doing medical research, I thought I'd provide a quick review of this past year's medical research highlights. This research offers clear straightforward guidelines for improving your health. #1 Wear sunscreen.  #2 Sunscreen increases the risk of skin cancer, don't use it.  #3 Don't eat butter, choose margarine instead.  #4 Don't eat margarine, have butter instead, it's more natural.  #5 No more than 2-3 eggs per week.  #6 You can safely eat at least 7 eggs per week.  #7 Walk, don't run.  #8 Run, don't walk.  #9 Coffee's good for you.  #10 Coffee's bad for you.  #11.Alcohol is good for you.  #12 Alcohol is bad for you.  #13 Eat bread.  #14 Don't eat bread.  Don't forget the sunscreen." [Within the time limit]

When in the ceremony video:  1:40:43





1996


Lecturer:  William Lipscomb    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, d.2011)

William Lipscomb, 1996 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "Equivalent to position and momentum, are spin about an axis and the angle of that axis. Now, to the candidates in the forthcoming election: If your speech has too much spin, you cannot cover all the angles. This Heisenberg Certainty Principle is analogous to my dedication to Congress: 'If your position is everywhere, your momentum is zero.' " [Within the time limit]

When in the ceremony video:  0:47:50




Lecturer:  Don Featherstone    (Creator of the plastic pink flamingo, Ig Nobel Prize Winner, d.2015)

Don FeatherstoneE, 1996 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "Tonight I'd like to talk to you about the durability of plastic lawn ornaments. They're probably going to be around for many, many a century. They're made of polyethylene, they don't disintegrate, and I'm sure archeologists someday are gonna find all of these things - out in people's burned out, decaying cellars - and wonder what did they have them for; they really don't have any value, like gold or diamonds, so they won't be pilfered by the crooks of the previous centuries. And they're gonna just be there. So let's keep the archeologists guessing and get out and buy as many of these lawn ornaments as you can. As much as your neighbors will allow." [Within the time limit]

When in the ceremony video:  0:51:54




Lecturer:  Robert T. Morris    (Computer Scientist, First person to create and release a computer worm over the Internet, First person to be convicted for releasing a computer worm over the Internet)

Robert T. Morris, 1996 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "Thanks a lot Marc. Before I launch into my lecture, I have a proposal concerning the security of our national information infrastructure. Recently, the administration suggested that we all entrust the government with the secret keys that would allow the FBI to read all encrypted or scrambled messages. Many people objected, and not just criminals. I think instead that some ordinary citizen - not a pawn of the government - should hold such keys. Now let me tell you who I propose that person should be..." [Time called by the Referee]

When in the ceremony video:  0:57:02




Lecturer:  Betty    (Distinguished Chicken from the Boston Museum of Science)

Betty, 1996 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony


In 30 Seconds:  "..." [Time called by the Referee]


Lecture Notes:  The lecturer's handler did not provide a written version of her talk. We recommend consulting the video record to minimize the posibilitiy of mis-understanding.

When in the ceremony video:  1:06:57




Lecturer:  Karen Hopkin    (Co-Author of "Essential Cell Biology", Science Journalist, and Freelance Writer/Editor)

Karen Hopkin, 1996 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "Ladies, gentlemen, and PhDs (Take that from my time). I come before you tonight wearing a living lawn as a symbol of biodiversity. And to present myself as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States. Ralph Nader may call himself 'green' but I can actually photosynthesize. I believe my running mate, Betty, actually discussed our platform during the previous Heisenberg lecture, so I won't repeat myself, or her, but I will promise you this..." [Time called by the Referee]

When in the ceremony video:  1:21:27








1995


Lecturer:  Dudley Herschbach    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of chemistry at Harvard University)

Dudley Herschbach, 1995 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "The duality of matter strikes many as sinister. It seems that for anything we try to measure, The outcome is subject to reasonable doubt. Yet that lets us comprehend what atoms are about. There may be no duplicity, but a double leson here. Certainly, Heisenberg's Principle makes it all quite clear: If it is human to err and noble to forgive, then in all fun The humor in AIR deserves Ignobel di-stink-shun!" [Within the time limit]

When in the ceremony video:  0:24:49




Lecturer:  Thomas & Raymond Magliozzi    (Hosts of the NPR Radio Program, Car Talk)

Tom and Ray Magliozzi, 1995 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "Is it possible for two people who don't know what they're talking about to know less than one person who doesn't know what he's talking about? One person will only go out on a limb so far in his construction of deeply hypothetical structures. On the other hand, with two people, the intricacies, the gives and takes, the wherefores and the why nots, can become a veritable pas de deux pf breathtaking speculation interwoven in such a way that apologies or gestures of doubt are rendered unnecessary..." [Time called by the Referee]

When in the ceremony video:  0:27:54




Lecturer:  Richard Roberts    (Nobel Laureate, Biochemist at New England Biolabs)

Richard Roberts, 1995 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "I have made an amazing discovery about certain DNA, cDNA, which is made by copying RNA. RNA contains the four bases A, C, G, and U. If C stands for "Certain", then U must be "Uncertain". Since base pairing says that C is opposite G, then G must be uncertain, too. Thus in RNA, both G and U are Uncertain. With all this uncertainty about RNA, no wonder DNA decided to become the genetic material!" [Within the time limit]

When in the ceremony video:  0:32:23




Lecturer:  Sally Yeh    (President of Bijan Fragrances)

Sally Yeh, 1995 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

In 30 Seconds:  "Most people think that Asian women like myself are poor drivers. They think it's in the genes, and that's the general attitude. So, combining attitude and driving, here's my outlook on life. My attitude has always been that I have a healthy disregard for the impossible whenever I'm trying to solve a problem. If two wrongs don't make a right, then three left turns certainly do." [Within the time limit]

When in the ceremony video:  0:39:34




Lecturer:  Robert Kirshner    (Chair of the Harvard Department of Astronomy)

Robert Kirshner, 1995 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony


In 30 Seconds:  
"End The.
Year Next You See!
Night Good and You Thank.
Not Think I, Filling Hourglasses?
Universe Expanding the by Determined is Time of Arrow the.
Work to get Commute don't that Operators do how but?¹
Energetic be must Talk Short a says Mechanics Quantum.²
Irreversible Language: Symmetric is Physics.
Aloha!

'Reversal Time'³ " [Within the time limit]

Lecture Notes:  This Lecturer provided the following citations to his Lecture:
¹ Quantum mechanics joke
² Car Talk mechanics joke
³ Capitalization of the Big and Tall Shop of Watertown

When in the ceremony video:  0:43:40






Errata and Missing Information

It is entirely possible that there are errors in the transcriptions of these lectures.  If you believe you have found such an error, please contact us.







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