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The 30th First Annual Ig® Nobel Prize Ceremony

will happen on Thursday, September 17, 2020


The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will happen a little differently than its 29 predecessors, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the ceremony will take place entirely online, on Thursday, September 17, 2020. Ten new Ig Nobel Prizes will be awarded to people who have done things that make people LAUGH, then THINK

Normally, the ceremony unfolds in Sanders Theatre, Harvard University’s biggest theater and classroom, with 1100 rambunctious spectators and reporters in the audience, and the winners and other distinguished guests and musicians on stage. The webcasting part is nothing new for us—we have webcast every Ig Nobel Prize ceremony since 1995 (a curious fact: that year’s ceremony was one of the very first events ever video broadcast on the Internet).

THE CEREMONY: The ceremony itself will include most of the traditional elements:

  • Ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners will be introduced to the public. Each winner (or winning team) has done something that makes people LAUGH, then THINK. A gaggle of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel laureates will hand the Ig Nobel Prizes to the new Ig Nobel winners.
  • A new mini-opera (called “Dream, Little Cockroach”) will premiere as part of the ceremony.
  • 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 airplanes will fly.
  • The traditional Welcome, Welcome Speech and Goodbye Goodbye Speech will maintain the standard for what welcome speeches and goodbye speeches should be.
  • Some other stuff.

THE WEBCAST: The ceremony webcast will happen on September 17. We want to have versions of the webcast in several languages, in addition to English. If your organization is able [you have a large online platform] and willing to collaborate with us in producing the webcast for a particular language, please get in touch with us.

WE ASK FOR YOUR HELP: Normally, we fund the ceremony almost entirely from ticket revenues, plus a few small amounts from generous donors. But this year there will be no theater tickets, and so no ticket revenues. Our expenses will be lower (no theater rental!), but still substantial. If you or your organization would like to help, please donate to our Patreon, or via the Greater Boston Arts & Business Council.

DETAILS: We will announce further details here on the web site, and also in mini-AIR (our monthly e-newsletter) and on Twitter and Facebook, over the coming weeks.

PRELIMINARY EVENTS: Between now and September 17, we plan to have a number of small events and other, related things online. Maybe some snippets of the new opera. Maybe some brief video recollections by past winners and other ceremony participants and audience members (maybe you?) about their favorite adventures from past Ig Nobel Prize events, maybe something with paper airplanes. Details TBA.

THE IG INFORMAL LECTURES: Traditionally, the new winners give short public talks at MIT, two days after the ceremony. This year, the Ig Informal Lectures, like the ceremony, will happen entirely online. We have not yet scheduled a specific date (or possibly dates!) for those lectures. Details TBA.

NOSTALGIA: Here’s a look back at more normal times—videos of last year’s (2019) Ig Nobel Prize ceremony and Ig informal Lectures:



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