The 2009 Ig® Nobel Prize Ceremony and Lectures

2009 physics prize acceptance speech and Miss Sweetie Poo

2009 Ig Nobel chemistry prize winners Miguel Apátiga (dark jacket) and Javier Morales (light jacket) conclude their one-minute acceptance speech in timely fashion, thanks to a reminder from eight-year-old Miss Sweetie Poo. (The scientists placed the hat on Miss Sweetie Poo's head in response to her reminder.) Apátiga, Morales and Victor Castano were honored for creating diamonds from liquid — specifically from tequila. At right, several of the nine Nobel laureates who handed out the prizes and shook hands with the winners.

The Ceremony

Previous years' details / Press contacts

The 2009 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony
Thursday, October 1, 7:30 pm.

Sanders Theater, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Boston Squeezebox Ensemble concert: in the lobby — 6:45 pm.
Penny-Wise Guys risk cabaret concert: in the theater — 7:15 pm.
Ceremony proper begins at 7:30 pm.
Click for a map and directions, or to learn how to pahk your cah near Hahvud Yahd.

The 19th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony introduced 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, assisted by a large number of assorted Ig personnel, all before a perpetually standing-room only audience. The ceremony included many other delights—see details below.

(A full report, with action photos, appears in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. Click here to see details and video of last year's (2008) ceremony, here to see the Improbable Research special issue about that ceremony. And for a journalist's view of the ceremony, read Steve Nadis's firsthand account.)

WEBCAST: After several exciting glitches, VIDEO of the ceremony is now online, in one part on YouTube (embedded below) or in four parts on Vimeo:

Part 1: Pre-show Risk Cabaret Concert by The Penny-wise Guys, and the very, very beginning of the ceremony.
Part 2: Lots of introductions. Several past winners return. Benoit Mandelbrot's keynote address.
Part 3: Awarding of several prizes. First 2 acts of the mini-opera. The 24/7 Lectures.
Part 4: Awarding of the rest of the prizes. Win-a-Date contest. Thrilling conclusion of the mini-opera.

Special thanks to these supporters — they helped make the ceremony possible:


Theme: The theme of this year's ceremony is: RISK.
(The theme pertains to some of the goings-on at the ceremony, though not necessarily to any of the year's prize-winning achievements).

Scene from the Big Bank Opera PREVIEWS: VIDEO: rehearsals of "The Big Bank Opera" (click on the image). Also: thoughts from a past Ig winner, from Cambridge Day, from AOL News, and from longtime Ig connoisseurs Dave Brooks and Steve Nadis.

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

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

Radio: The ceremony was recorded for later broadcast, in highlight form, (on Friday, November 27, the day after Thanksgiving) on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation/ Science Friday with Ira Flatow."


Click on the image at right for a downloadable 2009 Ig Nobel Ceremony Poster in spiffy PDF format.


The Poster is a great way to increase Ig Nobel awareness among friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and complete strangers.

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

Click here for a downloadable PDF
of the Informal Lectures flyer.

The Ig Informal Lectures
Saturday, Oct 3, 2009, 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

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 (and a few past winners, too) 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 1, 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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