Author Topic: The Ig Nobel Prizes  (Read 1448 times)

Offline Jay Sadie

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The Ig Nobel Prizes
« on: February 04, 2012, 03:52:18 AM »
The Ig® Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology. Every year, in a gala ceremony in Harvard's Sanders Theatre, 1200 splendidly eccentric spectators watch the winners step forward to accept their Prizes. These are physically handed out by genuinely bemused genuine Nobel laureates.

[nbsp] [nbsp]"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[nbsp] [nbsp]

[nbsp] [nbsp]"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[nbsp] [nbsp]

Improbable Research is an organization who collects (and sometimes conducts) improbable research. They publish a magazine called the Annals of Improbable Research, and they administer the Ig Nobel Prizes.

Here are some questions and answers provided by Improbable Research:

Who puts this thing on every year?

[nbsp] [nbsp]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, the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and the Harvard Computer Society. Find out about other Ignitaries and VIPs here.

Who has won this prize?

[nbsp] [nbsp]We have awarded 10 prizes each year since 1991. Our winners page contains a complete list for your perusal.

How do I find out about past years?

[nbsp] [nbsp]Our Ig Archive page collects details, videos, and links from our past ceremonies.

What about the Ig Informal Lectures?

[nbsp] [nbsp]Winners are given only 60 seconds to explain themselves during the prize ceremony, so the following Saturday we give them considerably more time, plus a projector, so they can explain themselves and their research more fully.

Can I nominate someone for an Ig Nobel prize?

[nbsp] [nbsp]Of course! For details on how the nomination process works, please read here.

Has anyone ever turned down this award?

[nbsp] [nbsp]We contact winners in advance and give them the option to turn down the award. It has happened, but thankfully those cases are rare.

Are you ridiculing science?

[nbsp] [nbsp]No. We are pointing out that good science can also be odd, funny, and even absurd. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s good science. Our first rule is that the achievements we honor must make us laugh, and then think. A lot of good science gets attacked because of its absurdity. A lot of bad science gets revered despite its absurdity.

How can I get involved with next year’s ceremony?

[nbsp] [nbsp]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 most colorful delegations will be selected to march gloriously into the theater. The deadline for delegation registration is the Friday before each year's ceremony, but tickets usually sell out much sooner.

Furthermore, 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 or sponsors. For more information on either, please contact us at or (+1) 617-491-4437.

Do you have a page collecting press coverage about the Igs?

[nbsp] [nbsp]Indeed we do! How wonderful that you asked! Our Press Clips page collects the best instances of other people talking about us for the past year or so.

Are you people really as geeky cool as you sound?

[nbsp] [nbsp]Such things are best left to an individual's personal preference and discretion.

What if I would like to read about the Ig Nobels in book format?

[nbsp] [nbsp]Several Ig Nobel books have been translated into many languages.

What if I'd like to see the Ig Nobels live, but can't make it to Cambridge?

[nbsp] [nbsp]The Ig Nobel organizers and winners also present other events throughout the year and around the world that (we hope) make people laugh and then think. For a list of upcoming events (including the annual Ig Nobel Tour of the UK), see the schedule.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 04:27:37 AM by Jay Sadie »
"I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success." - Nikola Tesla


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