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Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

A Hypercubic Appraisal of This Year’s Ig Nobel Prizes

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

The Hypercubic blog has a thoughtful essay about this year’s Ig Nobel Prizes and ceremony. (The essay is in Portuguese—if you don’t read the language easily, you might enjoy reading it via a machine translation program). It begins [here in translation]:

IgNobel 2020: the most unlikely polls of the year

TRADITION IS A KNIFE OF TWO VEGETABLES : on the one hand, it is legal to carry on the habits and customs of previous generations; on the other hand, a tradition can easily become a bond, a paralyzing force, ready to trap us in a past that no longer exists or has never existed. Creative people, like scientists and artists, tend to have little reverence for established traditions. This does not mean that there are no traditions in these areas.

An irreverent tradition of the scientific community, for example, is the IgNobel Award. Dedicated to disseminating research that first makes you laugh, then think, IgNobel has traditionally been held in mid-September since 1990. The 30th . The first edition, therefore, would be a good reason to fill the stage, the auditorium and the galleries of the Sanders Theater, in Harvard, last Thursday (17/09). However, for the first time, this traditional location could not be the setting for the most unceremonious ceremony in the scientific community.

The IgNobel committee may be cute, but it is not stupid. Given the extraordinary conditions of a year as buggy as 2020, it would be impossible to bring together about a thousand fans and scientists in a closed environment and without social distance like a theater. Thus, IgNobel left behind one tradition and resorted to another…

Why did we vibrate earthworms?

Friday, October 23rd, 2020

The winners of the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize for physics wrote about their work, in The Conversation: “We vibrated earthworms to learn about safely connecting human brains to computers

The opera “Dream, Little Cockroach” [the whole video]

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

The opera “Dream, Little Cockroach” premiered as part of the 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, on September 17, 2020. Here’s video of the opera, by itself.

Plot summary: A man dreams that, although he was always a cockroach, he has been transformed into a human being. His family, and scientists, and the whole population, argue about how to respond. They decide to make him their leader.

Here’s the cast and crew of this premiere performance:

Musical Director: Maria Ferrante
Video director and editor: Bruce Petschek
Additional videography and audio editing: Alexey Eliseev

NARRATORS: Karen Hopkin and Christopher Hopkin

Piano: Yulia Yun
Accordion: Dr. Thomas Michel
Cello: Dr. Julie Reimann
Bass: Dr. Bruce Koplan

Maria Ferrante
Dr. Fred Tsai
Bobbie Hill
Jan Hadland
Ted Sharpe
Lizhou Sha

The man who might be a cockroach: Alexey Eliseev

Rich Roberts, Frances Arnold, Marty Chalfie, Eric Maskin, Andre Geim, Jerome Friedman, Alessandro Pluchino & spouse, Andrea Rapisarda, Michael Smith & spouse, May Berenbaum, Sabine Begall, Richard Vetter, Kiyoshi Furusawa, Melissa Franklin, Jean Berko Gleason.

Portaborse: Michele Liguori


Ig Nobel Medical Education Prize Winner Continues His Lesson

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

One of the nine co-winners of the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize for Medical Education is in news headlines worldwide today, for his personal experimentation with the Covid-19 virus. Here is the certificate awarded to that winner at the 30th First Annual Ig Nobel ceremony on September 17. The certificate is signed, as per tradition, by several Nobel Prize winners.

That Ig Nobel Prize for Medical Education was awarded to Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, Narendra Modi of India, Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Donald Trump of the USA, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan, for using the Covid-19 viral pandemic to teach the world that politicians can have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors can.

Here’s video of the announcement at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony:

BONUS (September 30, 2020): “Study plumbs the influence of Ig Nobel Medical Education Prize winner Trump

UPDATE (October 26, 2020): “President Donald Trump argued on Monday morning that it ought to be against the law for the news media to cover the pandemic ahead of the elections as the COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. surpasses 225,000.”

“People ask me the strangest questions”

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

“Luckily we found a great collaborator in Australia who studies wombats, and he sent us one through the mail. We opened the intestines up and there were these cubes inside. There are moments when you wonder if your life is real, or if it’s just some big joke.”

—Double Ig Nobel Prize winner David Hu, interviewed by Jamie Durrani in Chemistry World magazine.

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