2009 Ig Nobel Tour of the U.K.
|VIDEO: Watch the entire 2009 event at Imperial College London. Imperial College always hosts the most elaborate show of the entire UK tour.|
The 2009 tour was part of National Science and Engineering Week, March 6-15, 2009. This was the seventh annual tour. (If your institution would like to host an event for the 2010 tour, please email lisa.birk AT improbable.com)
Sponsored by the British Science Association and Improbable Research.
Click here for an Imperial College interview, and here for some reviews by audience members at some of the 2009 shows: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Click here to download a 2009 Ig tour poster [PDF].
|March 7, 2009, Saturday, 2:30 pm.||Oxford, Martin Wood Lecture Theatre, on Parks Road at the corner with Keble Road. (Click here for map.) … Special pre-tour event, on the day before National Science and Engineering Week officially begins. Free. Reserve tickets (max 2 per person) in advance at https://www.ox.compsoc.net/ignobel/. Tickets must be picked up at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the event. (You can turn up on the night, but capacity is limited so please reserve a place in advance to be sure of getting in.)||Featuring: Fiona Barclay, Dan Meyer, Charles Spence, John Troyer, Julian Vincent. (Organizer: Alasdair Kergon, ignobel AT oxlug.org).
Click here to download a 2009 Oxford show poster [PDF].
|March 9, 2009, Monday, 6:00 pm.||Newcastle. Centre for Life, Conference and Banqueting, Times Square, Scottswood Road. (Click here for map.) … Free. Advance booking recommended as this will be a popular event. To reserve tickets, call 0191 243 8217 or email [email protected]||Featuring: Melissa Bateson, Dan Meyer and Brian Witcombe, Steve Farrar, Claire Rind and Peter Simmons. Also featuring the Newcastle University Gilbert & Sullivan Society in a special performance of the mini-opera “Atom & Eve“. (Contact: Ashley Kent, Ashley.Kent AT life.org.uk)
Click here to download a 2009 Newcastle show poster [PDF].
|March 10, 2009, Tuesday, 6:00 pm.||Portsmouth. University of Portsmouth. Portsmouth Business School, Richmond Building, Portsmouth PO1 3DE. (Click here for a map and directions.) Free. To reserve tickets, contact Maricar Jagger,
events AT port.ac.uk, 023 9284 3757.
|Featuring: Dan Meyer, Kees Moeliker, John Hoyland, Erwin Kompanje, David Sims. (Contact: Maricar Jagger, Maricar.Jagger AT port.ac.uk)
Click here to download a 2009 Portsmouth show poster [PDF].
|March 11, 2009, Wednesday, 5:00 pm.||Bristol. Hewlett Packard. Cabot Auditorium. Building 3, HP Laboratories Bristol, Filton Road, Stoke Gifford
Free. But you must reserve tickets in advance: email [email protected] or telephone +44 (0)117 3128267.
|Featuring: Michael Berry, Marie-Christine Cadiergues, Erwin Kompanje, Dan Meyer and Brian Witcombe, Kees Moeliker, John Troyer, Julian Vincent. (Contact: Deb French, deb.french AT hp.com)
Click here to download a 2009 Bristol show poster [PDF].
|March 12, 2009, Thursday, 6:00 pm||London. Imperial College. Great Hall,
Level 2, Sherfield Building, South Kensington campus. (Click here for map.) … Free.
This event is now fully booked. (It’s possible that a very few tickets will become available on the day of the show.)
NOTE: Anyone who has not received their tickets by Monday, 9th March should email [email protected] to let them know.
|Featuring: Fiona Barclay, Piers Barnes, Mahmood Bhutta, Marie-Christine Cadiergues, John Hoyland, Erwin Kompanje, Chris McManus, Dan Meyer, Kees Moeliker, David Sims, Charles Spence. Time limits will be enforced by twin eight-year-old Miss Sweetie Poos. (Contact: Philippa Shallard, shallard AT imperial.ac.uk).
Click here to download a 2009 London show poster [PDF].
What and who: The shows feature Marc Abrahams, organizer of the Ig Nobel Prizes, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research, and Guardian columnist, together with a gaggle of Ig Nobel Prize winners and other improbable researchers.
Marc Abrahams will review the past year’s improbable research and Ig Nobel Prize winners. Several Ig winners (and/or colleagues) will try to explain what they did and why they did it, and will field questions. Many of the speakers are new to the tour. Some are returning after previous appearances, now armed with fresh new topics (buying plutonium; left/right medical mishaps; etc.).
Each show will include a unique combination of the following individuals:
- Kees Moeliker is curator of birds at the Natural History Museum Rotterdam. Moeliker won the 2003 Ig Nobel Biology Prize for documenting the first scientifically recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck. He is also the Annals of Improbable Research European Bureau Chief. On this year’s tour he will present new cases of avian necrophilia and a forgotten study on birds and buttons.
- Fiona Barclay, a biochemist, collaborated with Theo Gray to assemble the world’s first periodic table table — a large, lovely, four-legged piece of furniture that contains (nearly) all the elements of the periodic table. The result: the 2002 Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize. On this year’s tour she will discuss her adventures in purchasing plutonium.
- Piers Barnes shared the 2006 Ig Nobel Mathematics Prize for calculating the number of photographs you must take to (almost) ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed. He is a research associate in chemistry at Imperial College London.
- Melissa Bateson and two co-researchers devised a novel way to study of the honesty of their colleagues when paying for their coffee. She is a lecturer at Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience.
- Michael Berry, together with a colleague were awarded the 2000 Ig Nobel Physics Prize for using magnets to levitate a frog. He is the Melville Wills Professor of Physics at Bristol University (Emeritus).
- Mahmood Bhutta does innovative research on the acoustic effects of speaking with a hot potato in one’s mouth. He is a surgeon at Wexham Park Hospital.
- Steve Farrar will discuss the peculiar history of astronomer Tycho Brahe’s nose. He is a historian and a former editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement.
- John Hoyland created and edits the “Feedback” column in New Scientist Magazine. On this year’s tour he will present a batch of newly discovered oddities.
- Erwin Kompanje studies overlooked spectacular medical history. He is a clinical ethicist at Erasmus University Rotterdam. On this year’s tour her will explain “Alien abduction and devil conquest in 17th century and modern medical literature”.
- Chris McManus wrote the study “Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and in Ancient Sculpture,” for which he later received the 2002 Ig Nobel Medicine Prize. He is Professor of Psychology and Medical Education at University College London. On this year’s tour he will explain some of the ways left and right get mixed up through honest error, stupid incompetence, and malicious intent to deceive.
- Claire Rind and Peter Simmons shared the 2005 Ig Nobel Peace Prize for electrically monitoring the activity of a brain cell in a locust while that locust was watching selected highlights from the movie “Star Wars.” Each is a Reader in Neurobiology at Newcastle University. They will describe their latest research adventures.
- David Sims, 2008 Ig Nobel Literature Prize winner for his study “You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations.”
- Marie-Christine Cadiergues, 2008 Ig Nobel Biology Prize winner for discovering that fleas that live on a dog can jump higher than fleas on a cat. She is a professor at Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse.
- Charles Spence, 2008 Ig Nobel Nutrition Prize winner for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher than it really is. He is a professor at the University of Oxford.
- John Troyer will discuss a peculiar little hole in the UK’s legal system. He is a research fellow at the Center for Death & Society.
- Julian Vincent designed a new kind of hammer modeled after one of Nature’s finest examples: the woodpecker. He is Professor of Biomimetics at the University of Bath.
- Brian Witcombe, a radiologist, and Dan Meyer, a swordswallower, shared the 2007 Ig Nobel Medicine Prize for their penetrating medical report “Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects.” On this year’s tour they will present newly discovered medical cases of (a) swordswallowing mishaps and (b) unlikely (even more unlikely than swords) objects that non-swordswallowers have swallowed.
Press contacts: Lisa Hendry (+44) (0)20 7019 4946 (lisa.hendry AT the-ba.net); or Marc Abrahams (+1) 617-491-4437 (marca AT chem2.harvard.edu).
SPECIAL NOTE for members of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS): You are invited to attend any of these shows as an on-stage object of admiration, and take a public bow. If possible, inform us before that you are coming, but in any event (1) please do come — and (2) please print a copy of your LFHCfS web page entry, and bring it with you — it will serve as your admission credential as a participant in the show.
Below: Dan Meyer and Marc Abrahams on the Alan Titchmarsh Show during the 2008 tour: