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The 31st First Annual Ig Nobel Prizes


The 31st First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will happen entirely online on Thursday, September 9, 2021, at 6:00 pm (US eastern time). Ten new Ig Nobel prizes will be awarded for things that make people LAUGH, then THINK.

A bit of Ig Nobel history:

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 year that we held it only online.
Because of COVID-19, 2021 will be the second year that we hold 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.
We’ll provide additional details, here on this web page, as the day approaches.

While you’re waiting, watch video of the last year’s (2020) ceremony:

The ceremony itself will include most of the traditional elements:

  • Winners — Ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners will be introduced. Each winner (or winning team) has done something that makes people LAUGH, then THINK
  • Presenters — A gaggle of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel laureates will hand the Ig Nobel Prizes to the new Ig Nobel winners:
    • Rich Roberts (Physiology or Medicine, 1993)
    • Frances Arnold (Chemistry, 2018)
    • Marty Chalfie (Chemistry, 2008)
    • Eric Maskin (Economics, 2012)
    • Barry Sharpless (Chemistry, 2001)
    • Bob Lefkowitz (Chemistry, 2012)
    • Carl Weiman (Physics, 2001)
    • Eric Cornell (Physics, 2001)
    • Jerome Friedman (Physics, 1990)
  • Mini-Opera — A new mini-opera (called “A Bridge Between People”) will premiere as part of the ceremony.
  • 24/7 Lectures — Several of the world’s great thinkers will tell us, briefly, what they are thinking about (first in 24 seconds, then in 7 words) in the 24/7 Lectures.
  • Paper Planes — Paper airplanes will fly.
  • Welcome, Goodbye — The traditional Welcome, Welcome Speech and the traditional Goodbye, Goodbye Speech will maintain the standard for what welcome speeches and goodbye speeches should be.
  • And — Some other stuff. some of it about engineering. That’s the theme of this year’s ceremony: Engineering.

Normally, we fund the ceremony almost entirely from ticket revenues, plus a few small amounts from generous donors. But in 2020 and 2021 there are no theater tickets, and so no ticket revenues. Our expenses were lower (no theater rental!), but still substantial. If you or your organization would like to help, please donate to the Ig.

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