This PBS NewsHour Weekend video explains the essence of the Ig Nobel Prizes.
"The Stinker", the official mascot of the Ig Nobel Prizes.
The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that make people LAUGH, and then THINK. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.
Every September, in a gala ceremony in Harvard's Sanders Theatre, 1100 splendidly eccentric spectators watch the new winners step forward to accept their Prizes. These are physically handed out by genuinely bemused genuine Nobel Laureates. Thousands more, around the world, watch our live online broadcast.
CEREMONY: The 27th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will happen on Thursday, September 14, 2017, at Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
TICKETS will go on sale in early July, available exclusively from the Harvard Box Office.
LATEST NEWS: For recent bits of Ig Nobel news, see the Ig Nobel portion of our blog.
PAST CEREMONIES: The 26th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony
happened on Thursday, September 22, 2016. Videos of this and many other past ceremonies are archived on
our YouTube channel and
in the web pages devoted to each individual ceremony year.
"Last, but not least, there are the Ig Nobel awards. These come with little cash, but much cachet, and reward those research projects that 'first make people laugh, and then make them think'" — Nature
"It's like the weirdest f-ing thing that you'll ever go to... it's a collection of, like, actual Nobel Prize winners giving away prizes to real scientists for doing f'd-up things... it's awesome."— Amanda Palmer
|Find videos and other details regarding past ceremonies on our Archive page||Stay informed about upcoming Ig Nobel events—join our private E-mail list. Please enter your E-mail address here:|
Who organizes the Ig Nobel Prizes? — The Ig Nobel Prizes are organized by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research. The ceremony is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students and the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association.
Who has won this prize? — Ten Ig Nobel prizes have been awarded each year since 1991. The winners page contains a complete list.
How do I find out about past years? — The Ig Archive page collects details, videos, and links from past ceremonies.
What about the Ig Informal Lectures? — At the ceremony itself, the new winners are given only 60 seconds to explain themselves. So... two days later, on Saturday afternoon, we give them considerably more time, plus a projector, so they can explain themselves and their research more fully, and discuss details with the audience.
Can I nominate someone for an Ig Nobel prize?— Of course! For details on how the nomination process works, please read here.
Are you ridiculing science? —No. We are honoring achievements that make people laugh, then think. Good achievements can also be odd, funny, and even absurd; So can bad achievements. A lot of good science gets attacked because of its absurdity. A lot of bad science gets revered despite its absurdity.
Are those real Nobel Laureates handing out the prizes?— Yes. At every Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, genuine Nobel Laureates physically hand out the prizes, and participate in the ceremony in other ways.
How can I get involved with next year's ceremony? — If you have five (5) or more tickets to the Ig Nobel ceremony, your group can choose to be an Official Audience Delegation and thus be officially celebrated during the event. To register as a Delegation, first obtain tickets from the Harvard Box Office. Then register with Grand Panjandrum of the Delegations Louise Sacco: (+1) 781-444-6757. The deadline for delegation registration is the Friday before each year's ceremony, but tickets usually sell out much sooner.
If you or your organization are comfortable publicly demonstrating both a love of science and a sense of humor, we are always happy to consider volunteers, sponsors, and supporters. For more information on this, please contact us at [email protected] or (+1) 617-491-4437.
Do you have a page collecting press coverage about the Igs? — The Press Clips page has links to some press reports about the Igs.
What if I would like to read about the Ig Nobels in book format? —There are several books about the Ig Nobel Prizes and several of these have been translated into other languages. Many of the winners have written books, and many of those winners are also the subjects of books. Many of them have given TED talks, too.
What if I'd like to see the cermony live, but can't make it to Cambridge, Massachusetts? —You can watch the live broadcast each year here on the Improbable Research website, and you can watch videos of past ceremonies anytime. We present other events throughout the year and around the world that (we hope) make people laugh and then think. Find a list of our upcoming events (including the annual Ig Nobel EuroTour).
Is there a pattern in the prizes you have awarded? — We judge nominations based on whether they make people laugh, then think. That is the only criterion. No other pattern is intended. Of course, human beings are surprisingly good at seeing (or imagining!) patterns, even in random collections of data. The company Silk created an interactive database of Ig Nobel Prize Winners, which was at one time fairly accurate. And 2010 Ig Nobel Management Prize winner Andrea Rapisarda, working independently in Italy, made an app of Ig Nobel Prize winners that is available for free on iTunes.
Here are a few photographs and videos from past ceremonies.
Viliumas Malinauskus, founder of Stalin World, accepting the 2001 Ig Nobel Peace Prize. Photo: Caroline Coffman.
2004 Ig Nobel Peace Prize winner Daisuke Inoue -- the inventor of karaoke -- is serenaded by Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach (left), Richard Roberts and William Lipscomb, and by Studmuffins of Science creator Dr. Karen Hopkin. Listen to NPR's report.
The Japanese public TV network NHK created this documentary about the Igs in 2002. Click above to watch.
The Ukrainian INTER TV network sent a crew to the 2010 ceremony. Click on the image (above) to see their report.
Dutch filmmaker Bahram Sadeghi made six mini-documentaries, each about a different Ig Nobel Prize winner. Click the image above to watch the first in the series.
Andy Jordan of the Wall Street Journal attended the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, and brought his videocamera. Click the image above to watch his report.
CBS News profiled the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize winners. Click the image above to watch.
2009 Ig Nobel Public Health Prize winner Dr. Elena Bodnar demonstrates her invention — a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be converted into a pair of protective face masks — assisted by Nobel laureates Wolfgang Ketterle, Orhan Pamuk, and Paul Krugman. Click the image above to watch.
The Russian network NTV traveled the world to interview Ig Nobel Prize winners. Their ten-minute report was originally broadcast in December 2007. The image here shows an NTV reporter visiting the (Literature Prize-winning) Nudist Research Library in Kissimmee, Florida.
WCVB's Chronicle program did a five-minute introduction to the Ig in 2009. Click the image above to watch it.