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30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony happened entirely online on Thursday, September 17, 2020, at 6:00 pm (US eastern time).

Since 1991 we have held the ceremony live and in person.
Since 1995 we have been broadcasting it live online.*
Because of COVID-19, 2020 was the first (and hopefully will be the only) year that we have held it only online.

*The 1995 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was one of the very first events ever videocast on the Internet, and possibly the first event that was not a music concert.

How/Where to Watch    |    What Languages?    |    Ceremony Details
Support The Igs    |    Who’s Who    |    Ig Lectures    |    Favorite Moments    |    Countdown!

The ceremony happened in (or subtitled in) several languages, in addition to the usual English:

The ceremony itself included most of the traditional elements:

  • Winners — Ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners were introduced. Each winner (or winning team) has done something that makes people LAUGH, then THINK
  • Presenters — A gaggle of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel laureates handed the Ig Nobel Prizes to the new Ig Nobel winners—Eric Maskin (economics, 2007), Frances Arnold (chemistry, 2018), Rich Roberts (physiology or medicine, 1993), Marty Chalfie (2008, chemistry), Jerome Friedman (physics, 1990), Andre Geim (physics 2010)
  • Mini-Opera — A new mini-opera (called “Dream, Little Cockroach”) premiered as part of the ceremony. The plot: A man dreams that, although he was always a cockroach, he has been transformed into a human being. People argue about how to respond. They decide to make him their leader.
  • 24/7 Lectures — Several of the world’s great thinkers told us, briefly, what they are thinking about (first in 24 seconds, then in 7 words) in the 24/7 LecturesElena Bodnar (The Emergency Bra), Marty Chalfie (Green Fluorescent Protein), Masako Kishida (Computer Bugs), Mark Hostetler (Insects), May Berenbaum (The Insect Apocalypse), Michael Smith (Bee Stings)
  • Paper Planes — Paper airplanes will fly
  • Welcome Goodbye — The traditional Welcome, Welcome Speech and Goodbye, Goodbye Speech maintained the standard for what welcome speeches and goodbye speeches should be.
  • And — Some other stuff. Including bugs. That’s the theme of this year’s ceremony: Bugs

Normally, we fund the ceremony almost entirely from ticket revenues, plus a few small amounts from generous donors. But this year there will be no theater tickets, and so no ticket revenues. Our expenses will be lower (no theater rental!), but still substantial. If you or your organization would like to help, please donate to the Ig.

Traditionally, the new winners give short public talks at MIT, two days after the ceremony. This year, the Ig Informal Lectures, will happen entirely online (like the ceremony). The Ig Informal Lectures will happen in November. Exact date, and other details, TBA.

WHO’s WHO 2020
The Laureates and Lecturers listed on this page are impressive, but WHO makes the ceremony happen? Who are the designers, technicians, lurking presences, and decision makers who work for the chance to see their name mis-spelled on our Who’s Who 2020 page?

UPDATES: We will announce further details here on the web site, and also in mini-AIR (our monthly e-newsletter) and on Twitter and on Facebook.

Each day closer to the ceremony (on September 17th) comes with another video glimpse of past Ig Nobel improbableness. Yes, that happened. There are 15 such glimpses. Watch them all!

Take a look back at more normal times with the 2019 CEREMONY VIDEO, or watch much EARLIER VIDEOS. We have videos going back to 1995 (We were one of the first live webcasts ever).

We asked some past Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony participants, organizers, and audience members, to tell us, every-so-briefly, their favorite personal Ig Nobel experience. The result is this ever-growing Playlist of Ig Nobel Favorite Moments on our YouTube channel. There is also a second playlist of slew of favorite moments in the Daily Countdown to the 30th First Annual Ceremony.


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