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Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

Ig Nobel Prize winner Bolsonaro’s Hiccups: Will He Demand 2006 Winner’s Treatment?

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

Medical experts are eager to see whether 2021 Ig Nobel Prize winner Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, will cure his intractable hiccups with the digital-rectal-message treatment devised by 2006 Ig Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Fesmire.

Bolsonaro’s ailment is reported in many news outlets. The Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant says, today: “Brazilian President Bolsonaro hospitalized with persistent hiccups—There is a lot of speculation in Brazil as to why President Jair Bolsonaro has had the hiccups for ten days.”

The 2006 Ig Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to Dr. Francis M. Fesmire, for his medical case report “Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage“; and to Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan, and Arie Oliven, for their subsequent medical case report also titled “Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage.”

President Bolsonaro is himself an Ig Nobel Prize winner.

The 2020 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.

Why this year’s Ig Nobel ceremony will be entirely online

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

People ask us why this year’s (2021) Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will, like last year’s, happen entirely online rather than in the usual big-theater-with-an-audience. Why? Because if you’re organizing a public event, especially an event involving people traveling from many countries, you are aware that this (see news item by Axios, July 8, 2021) kind of thing can happen:

Throw Your Paper Airplane Video into the Ig Nobel Ceremony

Wednesday, July 7th, 2021

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:

“How are Ig Nobel Prize-Winning Papers Cited?”

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

A paper, published in Medium, tries “to analyze how Ig Nobel Prize-Winning papers are supported or disputed in later research.”

Chip Crispness Experiment, then Further Food Research Adventures

Sunday, June 20th, 2021

“It all started in 2008, when Professor Charles Spence received the Ig Nobel Prize for his “sonic chip” experiment. Nothing to do with the Nobel Prize, but a recognition for the strangest and most absurd researches, which first make you laugh and then make you think. And in fact the study on the Pringles made the scientific community reflect a lot, especially food and wine…”

So begins the report in La Repubblica, about the many and varied food research adventures of Professor Charles Spence.


Improbable Research