A neutral observer reports on her first Ig Nobel ceremony

What’s it feel like to attend your first Ig Nobel Prize ceremony? You’ll not find a better account than this: Cristine Russell wrote about her night at the Igs, for Scientific American. Russell begins:

Ig Nobel Prizes Make You Laugh, Then Think
By Cristine Russell | September 23, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—What happens in the brains of people who see Jesus in a piece of toast? What are the physics of slipping on a banana peel? Are people who see an ugly painting more pain-sensitive than if they see a beautiful one? How do reindeer react to humans disguised as polar bears? Oh, and have you wondered if defecating dogs are sensitive to changes in the Earth’s magnetic fields?

The recent ceremony for the Ig Nobel Prizes at Harvard’s regal Sanders Theatre answered these questions—and many more—in a sold-out spoof in which good-humored scientists made light of their own work and real Nobel laureates wearing silly hats handed out the awards. “Moments of Science” offered goofy on-stage lab experiments; “What’s Eating You,” a three-act mini-opera mocking today’s pill-popping culture, had its world premiere; and, at two designated breaks, the very enthusiastic 1,100-member audience deluged the stage with handmade paper airplanes. Think Monty Python on science steroids.

This intercontinental, if not intergalactic, event—now available on You Tube—is guaranteed to put a smile on even the most serious face and to change the oft-dreary public stereotype of science and scientists.

Student journalist Ray Wang, too, was attending his first Ig. Wang wrote it up for MIT’s The Tech.

The Amazing Science blogger, also, was a first-time attendee, in the balcony, and wrote and photo-documented the experience.

You can see a few other accounts of the Ig, on our Press Clips page, and a rough overview on the blog item called “Up the nose: Press reports about the Ig Nobel Prizes“.

BONUS (added later): Journalist Judith Lavelle reports on her visit to the Ig Informal Lectures.

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