The 2008 Ig® Nobel Prize Ceremony and Lectures

The Ceremony (Thursday, October 2)

........The winners
........Tickets and Audience Delegations
........Webcast of the ceremony
........24/7 Lecturers
........IgBill and Poster

Ig Informal Lectures (Saturday, October 4)

Previous years
Press contacts

The 2008 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony
Thursday, October 2, 7:30 pm.

Sanders Theater
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

(Click here for a map and directions, here for info about how to pahk your cah near Hahvud Yahd.)

The 18th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony announced and introduced the ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners. The winners traveled to the ceremony, at their own expense, from several continents. The Prizes were handed to them by a group of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel Laureates, all before a standing-room only audience of 1200 people. Full details and action pictures will appear in the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. The ceremony also included other wonders.

Click here to read the Nature News reporter's diary of his visit to the ceremony.)

(Click here to see details and video of last year's ceremony.)

Tickets were available online, or in person from the Harvard Box Office at Holyoke Center

AUDIENCE DELEGATIONS: Audience members who came to the ceremony with a group of six or more people could have chosen (by registering in advance) to be recognized as an official Delegation. Every delegation was officially celebrated at the beginning of the Ceremony, and the very most colorful delegations were chosen to parade ostentatiously into the theater.

FIRST, purchase your tickets.
THEN, register with Louise Sacco, the Grand Panjandrum of the Delegations, at 781-444-6757, or by email.

The registration deadline was Wednesday, September 24, 2008.

WEBCAST: The ceremony was webcast live, beginning at 7:15 pm U.S. Eastern time, right here.

Radio: The ceremony was recorded for later broadcast, on Friday, November 28, the day after Thanksgiving, on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation/ Science Friday with Ira Flatow."

Theme: Every year, the ceremony has a new theme. (The theme pertains to some of the goings-on at the ceremony, though not necessarily to any of the year's prize-winning achievements). This year's theme: REDUNDANCY.

Additional highlights : In addition to the awarding of the Prizes, the ceremony included a variety of momentously inconsequential events:

  • A pre-ceremony concert (at 7:15 pm) featuring Paul and Storm
  • The 24/7 Lectures, in which several of the world's top thinkers each explains his or her subject twice:
    FIRST: a complete technical description in TWENTY-FOUR (24) SECONDS*
    AND THEN: a clear summary that anyone can understand, in SEVEN (7) WORDS. The lecturers and their topics:
    Anna Lysyanskaya: Cryptography
    Dany Adams: Biology
    William Lipscomb: Redundancy
    and others to be announced
  • "Redundancy, Again" —World premiere for the very first time of the mini-opera "Redundancy, Again" starring Maria Ferrante and Ben Sears, and pianist Branden Grimmett, with conductor David Stockton, guards Roberta Gilbert and Robert Canterbury, flutist Laura Hamel, accordianist Thomas Michel, and the Nobel Laureates, and the debut of the Ig Fife and Drum and Drum and Bugle and Bugle and Bugle and Accordion Corps. Costumes by Robert Canterbury.
  • The Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest
  • Karen Hopkin, creator of the Studmuffins of Science Calendar
  • Returning Ig Nobel Prize winners Kees Moeliker (homosexual necrophiliac ducks), Dan Meyer (swordswallowing and its medical side effects), Dr. Francis Fesmire (termination of intractable hiccups using digital rectal massage), and Don Featherstone (creator of the plastic pink flamingo)
  • Gala Introduction of the Audience Delegations
  • All speeches will be brief, and thus especially delightful
  • Portions of the ceremony will be simultaneously translated into several languages, in a manner most pleasing.
  • The Traditional "Welcome, Welcome" Speech
  • The Traditional "Goodbye, Goodbye" Speech
  • Other wondrous things.

* Time limits to be enforced by Mr. John Barrett, the Ig Nobel Referee

IgBill and POSTER

Click on the images for (left) a downloadable PDF of IgBill 2008, the official printed program; or (right) a downloadable 2008 Ig Nobel Ceremony Poster.


The IgBill is your surefire way to find out the complete list of who was onstage during the ceremony.


The Poster is a surefire way to show your never-ending devotion to the Igs.

Two days after the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, a related event:

The Ig Informal Lectures
Saturday, Oct 4, 2008, 1:00 pm.

MIT Building 10, Room 250
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

(Click here for a map and directions)

FREE ADMISSION -- but seating is limited

Get your downloadable poster here.

A half-afternoon of improbably funny, informative, brief (5 minutes each, plus a few questions & answers with the audience), high-spirited public lectures, in which the new Ig Nobel Prize winners will attempt to explain what they did, and why they did it.

This free event is organized in cooperation with the MIT Press Bookstore.


All Ig Nobel Prizes activities are organized by the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR). The ceremony is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association (HRSFA), the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students (SPS), the Harvard Computer Society, and the book The Man Who Tried to Clone Himself, published by Plume Books, New York, ISBN 0452287723.

The Ig Informal Lectures are co-sponsored by the MIT Press Bookstore.


About the Ceremony:
Annals of Improbable Research editor Marc Abrahams (+1) 617-491-4437
Improbable admin Lisa Birk
[On October 2, the day of the ceremony, if you can't reach anyone at Improbable Research, please instead call the Harvard News Office, (+1) 617-495-1585]

About the Book:
The Man Who Tried to Clone Himself, published by Plume Books; contact Liz Keenan, (+1) 212-366-2245

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