Campus & Community

Scientists to wed at this year’s Ig Nobels

3 min read

Two scientists will tie the knot at this year’s Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University. Lisa Danielson and Will Stefanov, both geologists at Arizona State University, will be married in a 60-second ceremony as the climax of the science world’s goofiest – and perhaps most-beloved – annual event.

Danielson and Stefanov, longtime fans of Ig Nobel Prizes, responded to a notice sent out by the show’s organizers that invited engaged couples to have their wedding ceremony on Sanders Theatre stage as part of this year’s Ig Nobels. “The entire marriage portion of the ceremony will have to be accomplished in 60 seconds, but it will be a thrilling 60 seconds,” stated the notice.

The Ig Nobel Ceremony is organized by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), in cooperation with several Harvard student groups.

The evening will also include the premiere of a new mini-opera about scientists using the latest scientific theories to plan a wedding. The mini-opera will culminate in the actual wedding of Danielson and Stefanov.

The public is invited to donate bridesmaids’ dresses for use in the wedding ceremony and the mini-opera.

The Ig Nobel Prizes are a good-natured takeoff on the Nobel Prizes and science. They celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative, and spur interest in science – both good and bad. Now in their 11th year, the “Igs” (as they are affectionately known) honor achievements that “cannot or should not be reproduced.” Each year, 10 recipients are invited to travel to the University – at their own expense – for a gala pomp and paper airplanes ceremony. A group of genuine Nobel Laureates then personally hand the Ig Nobel Prizes to the winners while 1,200 spectators salute them with cheers and paper airplanes.

Past winners have included George and Charlotte Blonsky, who invented a device to help women give birth by spinning them at high speed; the British Standards Institution, for publishing a six-page specification of the proper way to make a cup of tea; and Don Featherstone, the creator of the plastic pink flamingo. Featherstone will be at this year’s ceremony to take part in the wedding.

The Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will be held on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7:30 p.m. The entire event will be webcast live on the Internet and recorded for later broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” and “Science Friday” programs.

Tickets for the ceremony can be obtained from the Harvard Box Office at (617) 496-2222.