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Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

Last year’s Ig Nobel show at Imperial College London

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

The 2020 Ig Nobel Euro (and Brexitannia) Tour was scheduled to visit Imperial College London today, March 21. But alas, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 tour was truncated last week, after its first show.

As compensation, here’s video of last year’s Ig Nobel show at Imperial College, on March 16, 2019. The show concluded with the London premiere performance of the sea-shanty-enhanced version of William Topaz McGonagall‘s most beloved bad poem, “The Tay Bridge Disaster“:

The 2019 show was half of a two-event festival. The other half was BAHFest London—here’s video of that:

The Ig Nobel / BAHFest pairing (with a snazzy name: Peculiar) was going to repeat this year, today in fact, but COVID-19 got in the way. We have high hopes that the 2020 show can happen later in the year.

Mathematics and the end of the world, predictably

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

A prize-winning profession confidently confronts a new challenge.

Some professionals—professionals who professionally calculate a date on which the world will end—have calculated that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a goodbye-everyone harbinger. The Washington Post reports, on March 17, 2020:

This is not the end of the world, according to Christians who study the end of the world

The worldwide upheaval caused by the fast-spreading novel coronavirus pandemic has many people reaching for their Bibles, and some starting to wonder: Could this be a sign of the apocalypse?

It sure might feel apocalyptic. But not if you ask Christian writers and pastors who have spent years focusing their message on the Book of Revelation — the New Testament’s final book…. Most of these Revelation-focused prophesiers don’t see coronavirus as heralding the Second Coming and the end of life on Earth as we know it….

A Prize-Winning History for the Profession

The profession as a whole—the profession of calculating when the world will cease—has a celebrated history.

The 2011 Ig Nobel Prize for mathematics was awarded to Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1990), Lee Jang Rim of KOREA (who predicted the world would end in 1992), Credonia Mwerinde of UGANDA (who predicted the world would end in 1999), and Harold Camping of the USA (who predicted the world would end on September 6, 1994 and later predicted that the world will end on October 21, 2011), for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.

Dr. Nakamats is always on the job

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Dr. Nakamats has another new invention.

A virus-induced quick end to this spring’s Ig Nobel Euro (and Brexitannia) tour

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

This spring’s Ig Nobel Euro (and Brexitannia) Tour ended much sooner than planned.

Because of travel precautions and prohibitions related to the corona virus, we and our host institutions, in the many European and Brexitannian countries, cancelled the Ig Nobel events. (Most of those institutions are also canceling most or all of their other public events.)

We did do one show — last night at the University of Manchester. The performers and the audience, together, created an almost-magical night. As it turns out, that was the entire tour. The Manchester event was livestreamed. Here’s recorded video of the entire event:

The tour was going to be seven weeks long, about the same length as in most years. A large number of people, in many places, put in much thought, time, and work to prepare the events. Thank you to each of those many people! And thank you to everyone who was planning to come participate in whatever ways (as performers, as spectators, as paper airplane enthusiasts, etc.) in the shows. Very sorry that mother nature was uncooperative this year.

Here’s hoping that each and every one of those postponed events happens, some time in the not too-far-off future.

Volcanic, kinda sorta

Ten years ago, part of the Ig Nobel EuroTour ran into unexpected complications when a volcano in Iceland erupted and (among its other effects) led to the shutdown of just about all air traffic in Europe. We are now guessing that every ten years the tour will be a little more interesting—logistically—than in the intervening years.

Here’s a video look back ten years, to the UK part of that 2010 Ig Nobel tour. This particular moment was at Oxford University. Ig Nobel Prize winner Dr. Elena Bodnar demonstrates her inventionthe emergency bra—on a volunteer (Alasdair Kergon):


Updated Ig Nobel Euro (and Brexitannia) Tour Schedule

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

Here’s the updated schedule for the 2020 Ig Nobel Euro (and Brexitannia) Tour, running through most of March and April: <>

Milano postponed

We have indefinitely postponed (thanks, Corona virus travel complications!) the events that were planned for Milan, Italy.

Extra events in the UK and northern Europe?

The schedule now has two slots open for additional simple events (Marc Abrahams doing a talk about the Ig Nobel Prizes):

  • in England/Scotland/Wales on March 12, 13, 14, or 15
  • in Germany / The Netherlands / Denmark on April 8, 9, 10, or 11.

If you would like to host an Ig Nobel talk, and have a budget for train travel and some sort of honorarium, please email <marc atttt improbable dottttt com>.


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