Authority-Like Figures and Other Assorted Ignitaries, 2010
And please scroll down to see the principals in The Bacterial Opera.
For a list of Nobel laureates, 24/7 Lecturers, and past Ig Nobel Prize winners who will also be part of this, see the ceremony web page.
Please enjoy this never-yet-complete list of 2010 Ig Nobel ignitaries, literati, glitterati, pseudo-intellectuals, quasi-pseudo-intellectuals, cogno-intellectuals and assorted others who in some way are/were assisting in bringing the Ceremony into reality.
(NOTE: ** indicates name is/was/will be misspelled)
Marc Abrahams (Producer/Director, Master of Ceremonies, Writer) founded the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. He also edits the magazine Annals of Improbable Research and its TV series, and writes newspaper columns. [See more detail below.]
Robin Abrahams (Lurking Presence) writes the popular "Miss Conduct" social advice column for the Boston Globe Sunday magazine and blogs at robinabrahams.com. She is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind Over Manners.
Dany Adams (Diplomat) is Associate Research Professor at the Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology. She gave one of the first 24/7 Lectures, which culminated in a seven-word definition of 'biology': "If it can get infected, it's biology."
Marc Andelman (Opera Bacterium) is a character actor, inventor, and scientist. This is his third Ig. [See more detail below.]
Richard Baguley (Slide Show) is a Vice President of Editorial Development at Reviewed.com, where he develops new ways to torture gadgets such as digital cameras, televisions, and many more.
John Barrett (Referee) is a retired educator who stays active as a baseball umpire and soccer referee for high school and private leagues in Eastern Massachusetts.
Mike Benveniste (Photographer)
Ben Biggs (Minordomo)
Lisa Birk (Ig Nobel Facilitator) is a major organizing force deployed against chaos for both the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony and the Annals of Improbable Research. Formerly, the Project Manager of the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University and at Roundtable Media, she is at work on a short story collection, Because Help Can't Wait.
Tabatha Bohmbach (Prize Deliverer) is a former Miss Sweetie Poo.
Joost Bonsen (Performing Chemist) is a man about town, especially the MIT-related portions of town.
Dr. Jim Bredt (Human Spotlight) was a co-founder of Z Corporation and co-inventor of full-color 3D Printing. He taught freshman chemistry at MIT and drew a cartoon textbook on thermodynamics. He currently works as a materials scientist for 1366 Technologies, a solar startup in Lexington.
Nicholas Carstoiu (Bandleader, Singer, and Keyboardist) composes music conceived in free improvisation. Past mentors include composers Earle Hagen (film) and Ran Blake (piano). Credits include "Peak Impressions", an album of psychedelic rock music now housed in the Smithsonian Folkways collection.
Abhishek A. Chakraborty, Ph.D. (Lurking Presence) is a Post-doctoral fellow at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School. He studies processes that govern the development and progression of cancer. Besides providing the hope of one day curing cancer, this work also pays for his rent and living expenses.
Mahati Chintapalli (Human Spotlight) is in her second year at the Igs. She studies Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and particularly enjoys shiny, reflective materials.
Moss Collum (Minordomo)
Emily Coombs (Human Curtain Rod) is a chemist. She gave birth to a Miss Sweetie Poo.
Frank "Barefoot" Cunningham (Sound Recording)
Brian Donnelly (Meatball Royalty) is the King of Swedish Meatballs. In his spare time he also plays the saxophone and didjeridoo while performing tales about a trickster named Munkybunny. Visit www.munkbunny.com to see how his children's book is coming along.
Gary Dryfoos (Majordomo) is a scholar, a gentleman, and a majordomo. His majordomic qualifications include intensive specialized training, and owning his own tuxedo. This is his 19th Ig.
Stanley Eigen (Lurking Presence) has been with the Igs since the beginning. In addition to serving as Commutative Editor for the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, he is a math professor at Northeastern University (and yes, his name really is Eigen). This is his 20th Ig.
Alexey Eliseev (Photographer)
Julia Eliseeva (Official Sweeper)
Maria Eliseeva (Human Curtain Rod) is a scientist, a patent attorney, a classical pianist, and a human curtain rod.
Evelyn Evelyn (Microbial Miniconcert Performers, Hand Sanitizers, Prize Deliverers) are songwriting/performing parapagus tripus dibrachius twins. They have clean hands. They often work closely with Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley.
Dave Feldman (Master Technician emeritus)
Maria Ferrante (Opera Bacterium Soloist) enjoys an active career as recording artist, recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician, in the United States and abroad. This is her third year at the Igs. [See more detail below.]
Isabel Kadel-Garcia (Miss Sweetie Poo)
Holly Gettings (Lighting & Technology (Special Thanks))
Roberta Gilbert (Opera Bacterium) is trilling and thrilling in her third Ig. [See more detail below.]
Roy Glauber (Official Sweeper) is Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University. In 2005, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics. For ten years prior to that, he swept paper airplanes from the stage at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony; he has not ceased to continue this tradition.
Jean Berko Gleason (Welcome Welcome Speaker, Goodbye Goodbye Speaker) is professor emerita of psychology at Boston University. She is the inventor of the Wug Test.
Branden Grimmett (Opera Pianist) is a Boston-based accompanist and vocal coach. This is his third Ig. [See more detail below.]
Neil Gussman (Global Webcast Party Coordinator) is communications manager at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. He also rides enormous distances on bicycles, and reads books —lots of them.
Jenny Gutbezahl (Minordomo, Opera Human) is delighted to be involved with the Ig Nobels for the first time in her life. When not herding Nobel laureates like cats, Jenny enjoys taking long walks on the beach, arguing about the appropriate condiments for soft pretzels, and maintaining homeostasis. [See more detail below.]
Hunter Heinlen (Lighting & Technology)
Deborah Henson-Conant (Pathogenic Bacterial Pianoconcert Soloist, Band Jazz Harpist) Deborah Henson-Conant is a Grammy-nominated jazz-harpist, singer, and composer (perhaps most pertinently of the five-movement orchestral work "Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown"). She is also curator of the Museum of Burnt Food.This is her sixth Ig.
David Holzman (Photographer) has had multiple shows of classic car photos, and sells photo art at motorlegends.com. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Smithsonian, JNCI & elsewhere. He has a remarkable speaking voice.
Karen Hopkin (Parade and Opera Announcer), biochemist-turned-science writer, announces the opera and the Win-a-Date contest. At the 2004 Ig, Hopkin led the musical tribute to Daisuke Inoue, the inventor of Karaoke. She is co-author of the textbook Essential Cell Biology. In her spare time, Hopkin bakes pies and collects the signatures of Nobel Laureates on a 1950s-style autograph dog. This is her 20th Ig.
John Jenkins (Ig Informal Lectures (Saturday) Coordinator) is manager of the MIT Press Bookstore.
Susan Kany (Diplomat) has, for more than 20 years, been perfecting her diplomatic skills within Harvard's administration.
Alice Shirrell Kaswell (Writer) is a staff writer for the Annals of Improbable Research. This is her 20th Ig.
David "DK" Kessler (Co-Producer and Stage Manager) is knowledgable about theater, logistics, Scottish history, and whisky.
Joshua Kroll (Assistant Stage Manager, Webcast Coordinator, Lighting & Technology) is a first-year graduate student in computer science at Princeton University. He became involved in the Ig during his dear old college days and nights at Harvard.
David Langlois (Media Services) is a member of the Media Services Group at Harvard Law School.
Julia Lunetta (Minordomo, Improbable Webmaster) is an 12-year veteran minordomo. In addition to being a professional geek, she is also an amateur actress, musician, comedian, and human.
Richard Losick (Keynote Speaker) is a Harvard College Professor and Maria Moors Cabot Professor of Biology. Many a day he studies development in the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus subtilis.
Joe Maguire (Diplomat)
Lois Malone (Artwork & Logos) drew "The Stinker", the logo of the Annals of Improbable Research and of the Ig Nobel ceremony. Formerly at MIT, she now paints, sculpts, and designs houses in the mountains of New Mexico.
William J. Maloney (V-Chip Monitor, Prominent New York Attorney) will also be appearing as Himself.
Geoffrey Maness (Media Services) is a member of the Academic Technologies Group for Harvard University's FAS Information Technology department.
Jenn Martinez (Opera Costumer) is co-founder of Artisan's Asylum. [See more detail below.]
Katherine Meusey (Green Room Oracle) is Improbable Facilitator and also Circulation Director for the magazine Annals of Improbable Research. This is her second year at the Igs.
Dr. Thomas Michel (Founder and maestro, Boston Squeezebox Ensemble, opera accordionist) plays accordion and is Co-Director of the Leder Program in Human Biology and Translational Professor of Medicine (Biochemistry) and Federman Chair in Medical Education at Harvard Medical School. He has been in many Igs. [See more detail below.]
Kees Moeliker (Returning Ig Nobel Prize Winner (Biology, 2003), Photographer, Simultaneous Translator) is curator of the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam. He is also Improbable Research's European bureau chief.
John Olson (Opera Bacterium) was born and raised in Alberta, moved to Boston 20 years ago to go to MIT and never left. He works at ITA Software, managing a team of brilliant software engineers. He has performed in about a dozen shows with Theatre at First, including Much Ado About Nothing, The Merry Wives of Windsor, You Can't Take it With You, and The Margaret Ghost. He sings with the choir at First Congregational Church of Somerville. [See more detail below.]
Amanda Palmer (Evelyn) is a singer, composer, musician, actor and street performer, and part-time conjoined twin. She is half of the Dresden Dolls, She is also currently starring in "Cabaret" at the American Repertory Theater. This is her third (or maybe fourth) Ig.
Bruce Petschek (Videographer) is a freelance videographer. His production company, Seven Generations Video, has been videotaping the Igs for as long as anyone can remember and he is the chief editor of the Ig Nobel collection series on YouTube. His three children have all grown up working on the Ig Nobel video production crew since they were 6 years old and despite this formative experience they have all grown into fairly well-adjusted adults.
Gus Rancatore (Diplomat) is the proprietor of a Toscanini's Ice Cream. In 2007 he invented a new ice cream flavor to honor Mayu Yamamoto, who that year won the Ig Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovering how to extract vanillin from cow dung.
Genevieve Reynolds (Major Minordomo) is in her tenth year marshaling Ig winners and Laureates. In her spare time, Ms. Reynolds enjoys watching sheep herding trials.
Daniel Rosenberg (Performing Chemist) prepares and performs demonstrations for all the chemistry classes and many of the physics classes in the Harvard Science Center, and is a teaching fellow for many Harvard chemistry classes. He fathered two Miss Sweetie Poos and a Human Spotlight.
Isabelle Rosenberg (Meatball Royalty) is a former Human Spotlight and Human Curtain Rod. She has given birth to two Miss Sweetie Poos and a Human Spotlight.
Katrina Rosenberg (Human Spotlight) is a student at Arlington High School.
Sylvia Rosenberg (Official Sweeper) is a former Miss Sweetie Poo.
Louise Sacco (Grand Panjandrum of the Delegations) is the Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director of the Museum of Bad Art. She is also a fan photographer at Fenway Park and cohost of the Frugal Yankee Radio Hour.
Rob Sanders (Lighting & Technology) is still amazed that the simple statement "I love the Igs," has somehow ensured him perpetual employment, albeit for only 2 days a year. This is his 16th Ig.
Ben Sears (Opera Bacterium Soloist) performs in concert and cabaret with pianist Bradford Conner and together they have ten CD releases of "The Great American Songbook." Sears is working on a book on Irving Berlin. This is his 6th appearance at the Igs. [See more detail below.]
Miles Smith (Sound Recording) is a freelance audio engineer based in the Boston area, is currently on staff at WGBH Radio, is chief engineer for the Spanish Beisbol Network, works with "This American Life", and has had a hand in three Grammy-nominated albums. Most important, he has been involved in many, many Igs.
Quentin Smith (Webcast/Broadcast Engineer) has been playing with wires down the street at MIT for the past 3 years. His latest project is to build a digital waterfall. In his spare time, he works on cool video projects with MIT Student Cable.
Naomi Stephen (Press wrangler), between academic administrative and teaching careers, and being in the Ig
for this, her umpteenth time, has had lots of experience with all kinds of wrangling.
David Stockton (Opera Stage Director/Conductor) has conducted many kinds of operas, yet never before has he conducted a bacterial opera. This is his third Ig. [See more detail below.]
Geri Sullivan (Artwork & Logos, IgBill Design and Layout, Slide Show) is a graphic designer at her own firm, PROmote Communications, and is the design and layout director of the Annals of Improbable Research.
Charley Sumner (Provisionary Logistician)
Vaughn Tan (Diplomat)
Peaco Todd (Minordomo) works as a political columnist/cartoonist and professor. Her work can be found at peacotoons.com and porkbarrelcomix.com.
Jason Webley (Evelyn) is a singer, composer, busker, and part-time conjoined twin.
Corky White (Diplomat) is a food anthropologist, based at Boston University. She presently is engaged in research on urban social spaces and social change in Japan, particularly on the history of the cafe.
Mira Wilczek (Onstage Lurking Presence)
Eric Workman (Prize, Props and Scenery Creation, Performing Props Master, Human Aerodrome) creates unusual things at Boston's Museum of Science. He has been designing and building Ig Nobel Prizes for well over a decade.
Jayson Zeeman (Publicity Director)
Julianne Zimmerman (Momentous Scientist) is a reformed spaceflight payload engineer and NASA astronaut candidate who now helps entrepreneurial teams go exponential.
The Bacterial Opera — Principals
The Bacterial Opera will premiere as part of the 20th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony. It's a four-act drama about the bacteria who live on a woman's front tooth, and about that woman.
David Stockton (Opera Stage Director/Conductor), recognized as one of Boston's "musical legends" by The Christian Science Monitor, he is the former Artistic Director of Boston Concert Opera and a veteran conductor at numerous opera houses of the world. A native of Texas, David Stockton completed his doctoral studies at the University of Miami where concurrently he served as guest conductor for the Miami City Ballet and the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. During a five-year residency in Germany, Stockton conducted in the opera houses of Wiesbaden, Erfurt and Detmold. His concert with soprano Katia Ricciarelli and the Radio Philharmonie Leipzig created a European live radio broadcast from the Leipzig Gewandhaus. Stockton recently returned to Europe for a concert with the West Bohemia Symphony in Marianbad, the Czech Republic. A highlight for David was conducting concerts with famed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan (pictured above). A graduate of the School of Fine Arts at West Texas State University, Boston University and New England Conservatory of Music, Stockton served as Assistant Conductor for Sarah Caldwell's Opera Company of Boston before becoming Artistic Director of Boston Concert Opera, a professional orchestra and chorus with world-renowned soloists. Performing in Boston Symphony Hall, Stockton conducted over forty operas. He introduced Boston audiences to the operas of Leos Janacek, including the American premiere of Janacek's Osud (Destiny). He has frequently been a judge for the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in Boston and Cleveland and a Guest Conductor at Eastman School of Music.
Branden Grimmett (Opera Pianist) is delighted to join the Ig Nobels for the third consecutive year. Highlights of Branden's career have included several significant premieres. In 2009, he served as harpsichordist for the premiere of Handel's Messiah in Tomohon, Indonesia, conducted by André de Quadros. In 2007, he was the organist for the Boston premiere of Arvo Pärt's Passio with the Boston Choral Ensemble, under the direction of Miguel Felipe. He was also the featured accompanist for the Boston Gay Men's Chorus Boston premiere of When We No Longer Touch: A Cycle of Songs for Survival by Kristopher Jon Anthony. In June 2009, Branden was the music director and organist for the United Church of Christ's (UCC) 27th General Synod in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also served as the organist at the previous UCC Synod and 50th Anniversary Celebration in Hartford, Connecticut, where Bill Moyers and then-Senator Barack Obama were the featured keynote speakers. Branden is a board member of the UCCMNN and a member of the editorial committee for the UCC songbook, Sing! Prayer and Praise (Pilgrim Press 2009) and accompaniment edition.
Maria Ferrante (Kirkospockococcus, a bacterium) has appeared throughout the United States in concert and oratorio and opera. The petite soprano's operatic roles range from the great stage heroines (Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata, Pamina in Mozart's Magic Flute, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Liù in Puccini's Turandot, Rosalinda in Strauss' Die Fledermaus, and Mimi in Puccini's La Bohème), to serving girls (Despina in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, Barbarina in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Serpina in Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona, and in Englebert Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel. Equally at home on the concert stage, Maria has sung Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Mahler's Symphony No. 4, Poulenc's Gloria, Fauré's Requiem, Gounod's St. Cecilia Mass, Handel's, Britten's Les Illuminations, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, Orff's Carmina Burana, and Verdi's Requiem. Critic Alice Parker wrote that she "handled the wide tessitura, complex lines and German diction [of Berg's Seven Early Songs] with ease, matched by Mr. Gilbert Kalish's accomplished pianism." She has collaborated with world-renowned artists as: Abba Bogin, Richard Stoltzman, Colin Jacobsen, Miroslav Sekera, Seymour Barab, Sheldon Harnick, Xavier de Maistre (harp), Ben Verdery, Jason Vieaux, Arnold Steinhardt and composers Joseph Summer, William David Brohn and Arnold Black. She is a member of the chamber ensemble, Mistral, (where she sang "I Never Saw Another Butterfly..." with saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky) and the acclaimed Worcester Chamber Music Society. Maria's new release, "Best Kept Secrets" with pianist Lincoln Mayorga explores nineteenth-century passionate song. Her recent CD "Sea Tides and Time", devoted to the theme of water and its preservation, received a rave review from the Boston Herald, "[Ms. Ferrante] known for her lilting soprano voice and probing mind... brings a supple and colorful approach to a broad variety of repertoire." The Boston Globe said: "Superb."
Benjamin Sears (Gallileococcus, a bacterium) is best known for his concert and cabaret performances of American song with pianist Bradford Conner, but he also appears regularly in opera, musicals, and spoken theatre. In opera he has sung Guglielmo and Don Alfonso in Mozart's Così fan tutte, the Father in Hansel and Gretel, and each of the three Kings in Amahl and the Night Visitors. With this year’s appearance at the Igs, Ben has been in one quarter of the ceremonies, having previously performed in the 7th, 8th, 18th, and 19th editions. Stage appearances include Ko Ko in The Mikado, Wilhelm II in Kaiser Bill, Allen Felix in Play It Again, Sam, and both Antonio and Hugh Oatcake in Much Ado About Nothing. With American Classics he has been featured in concert performances of two Irving Berlin shows, Watch Your Step and Stop! Look! Listen!, Dietz & Schwartz’s The Band Wagon, Rodgers & Hart’s Peggy Ann, Cole Porter’s 50 Million Frenchmen, and George & Ira Gershwin’s Strike Up the Band. Sears has appeared with Boston's Publick Theatre, Act I Arena Theatre, the award winning Follen Community Opera, at the French Library of Boston, on radio (including The Connection), and is a former member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Recording credits with Bradford Conner include four Irving Berlin CDs, Come On And Hear!, Keep On Smiling, She’s So Beautiful, and Everybody Step; two of George & Ira Gershwin, Delishious, and Sweet and Low-Down; Beyond the Rainbow – Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg; Noël & Cole: Together With Music; Fred & Ethel - Great Songs of Astaire and Merman, and Rest You Merry – A Holiday Cabaret on the Oakton Label. For Titanic Records he has participated in two volumes of music by Boston composer Jonathan Lovenstein, Blake Songs and Other Works. In 2008 with Conner he performed a program of Fred Astaire songs at Oxford University and they have performed Irving Berlin’s Mandy with a Ziegfeld Girl who was in the song’s original 1919 Follies performance. Sears is currently compiling and editing The Irving Berlin Reader for publication by Oxford University Press. He is baritone soloist at Follen Church in Lexington, a vocal student of Diana Cole and has studied acting with June Judson.
Roberta Gilbert (Sidekickococcus, a bacterium), mezzo-soprano, is excited to be returning for her third round of Igs. Equally proficient in opera and musical theatre, Ms. Gilbert has performed with the Santa Fé and the Central City, Colorado opera companies, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Opera Co. of Boston, Boston Concert Opera, American Classics, Blue Pumpkin Productions, Castle Hill, and the North Shore Music Theatre. Appearances as concert soloist include the Boston Chorus pro Musica, the Newton Choral Society, the John Oliver Chorale, Brookline Youth Concerts, North Shore Music Theatre, Paul Madore Chorale, and the Salem Philharmonic Orchestra. On the dramatic stage, she has appeared with Playwright's Platform, Theater-in-Process and performed in two productions of Tennessee Williams' play, "Orpheus Descending" with the Boston Actors' Ensemble, where she was acclaimed for her dramatic and comic timing. She also created the role of Laura Shore in Jeff Flaster's high-tech musical, "Tortoises" and has performed live in the WGBH studios. Ms. Gilbert has a particular love for the music of Mahler, and for Edwardian Music Hall repertoire. She is a graduate of Boston University and the Boston Conservatory.
Several trillion bacteria (Themselves) will play supporting roles. Space limitations preclude our listing each of their names here. This is their first Ig.
John Olson (Opera Bacterium) was born and raised in Alberta, moved to Boston 20 years ago to go to MIT and never left. He works at ITA Software, managing a team of brilliant software engineers. He has performed in about a dozen shows with Theatre at First, including Much Ado About Nothing, The Merry Wives of Windsor, You Can't Take it With You, and The Margaret Ghost. He sings with the choir at First Congregational Church of Somerville.
Dr. Thomas Michel (Accordionococcus, a bacterium) is Co-Director of the Leder Program in Human Biology and Translational Professor of Medicine (Biochemistry) and Federman Chair in Medical Education at Harvard Medical School. He has been in many Igs.
Jenny Gutbezahl (The Woman) is delighted to be involved with the Ig Nobels for the first time in her life. When not herding Nobel laureates like cats, Jenny enjoys taking long walks on the beach, arguing about the appropriate condiments for soft pretzels, and maintaining homeostasis.
Marc Andelman (Nameless Bacterium) is a character actor, inventor, and scientist. Possessed of great technical knowledge of bacteria, he brings deep empathy to his microbial ingenue role in "The Bacterial Opera." This is his third Ig.
Jenn Martinez (Opera Costumer) is co-founder of Artisan's Asylum. She is possessed of many bacteria, and created the style and look enjoyed by the much-larger-than-lifesize bacterial characters in "The Bacterial Opera". This is her first Ig.
Marc Abrahams (Opera story and words) founded the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. He also edits the magazine Annals of Improbable Research and its TV series, and writes newspaper columns. The Bacterial Opera is his 15th Ig Nobel opera.
Jacques Offenbach (Opera music) wrote the music for many operas, including Orpheus in the Underworld and The Tales of Hoffman, and then he died, and then he became a co-author of The Bacterial Opera.
Arthur Sullivan (Opera music) wrote the music for many operas, including The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance, and then he died, and then he became a co-author of The Bacterial Opera.
Giuseppe Verdi (Opera music) wrote the music for many operas, including Rigoletto and La Traviata, and then he died, and then he became a co-author of The Bacterial Opera.
Special Bacterial Opera thanks to Mary Ellen Davey, Harriet Provine, Dany Adams and Carl Zimmer for bacteriological insights, and to Robert Csillag, DDS, and his staff for inspiration.