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Throw Your Paper Airplane Video into the Ig Nobel Ceremony

Would you like to throw a paper airplane, as a visible part of the 31st First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony? You can! Make a little video, and send it to us.

(Because of the pandemic, this year, like last year, the ceremony is happening entirely online—rather than in its traditional home, Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre.)

Here’s a little video about how you can make a little Ig Nobel paper plane-throwing video:


The ceremony webcast will happen on Thursday, September 9, 2021.

We will select the best of the paper airplane videos sent to us. They must arrive here by late July.

Please submit your video to <marc attttttttt improbable dottttttt com>. (If you have questions about it, please ask!)

The History of Paper Airplanes in the Ceremony

Paper airplanes have a long and storied history at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. As far as we remember, the tradition began at the Second First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, in 1992, when a large number of MIT students brought paper to the ceremony expressly to make paper airplanes, all of which they then sent on test flights during the ceremony. Hundreds of test flights.

The tradition grew from from that modestly humble start, with more audience members and more paper planes flying high (or low) at every subsequent ceremony.

Sweeping Success

The heaps of paper planes accumulating on a stage became a problem that had to be solved. The solution: The ceremony every year includes broom-wielding paper airplane sweepers. That solution itself led to interesting stories. Harvard physics professor Roy Glauber spent a decade sweeping paper airplanes from the Ig Nobel stage, at which point in his career happy fate bestowed an unrelated honor upon him.

A Look Back at Last Year

Here’s video of last year’s (2020) Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, the first to happen exclusively online. As you’ll see, paper airplanes, in tiny videos akin to the one that you might make and send to this year’s (2021) ceremony, were prominent:

Improbable Research