Campus & Community

Ig Nobels set to celebrate dumb smarts

2 min read

Mini-opera to share stage with Nobel laureates, 24-second lectures

The 2005 Ig Nobel Prize winners will be announced and showered with applause and paper airplanes at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre on Oct. 6. Organized by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research in cooperation with several Harvard student groups, the “Igs” honor achievements in science that make people laugh and think.

Nobel laureates Dudley Herschbach (chemistry, 1986), Sheldon Glashow (physics, 1979), and others will greet and present the awards to the respective Ig Nobel recipients.

Now in their 15th year, the Igs annually honor 10 new winners at the pomp-and-pageantry-filled ceremony. The winners’ identities and nationalities are kept secret until the night of the ceremony. This year’s gala evening will celebrate the theme “infinity,” and will include a new mini-opera – “The Count of Infinity” – starring opera singers Margot Button and Simon Chaussé, and the Nobel laureates; the 24/7 Lectures, in which some of the world’s top thinkers explain their subjects twice (first in 24 seconds, and again, in seven words); and the win-a-date-with-a-Nobel-laureate contest.

Last year’s winners included the inventor of karaoke, the father-son team who patented the comb-over, and the authors of the report “The Effect of Country Music on Suicide.” As in past years, this 15th installment of the Igs will be carried live on the Web at, and recorded for a Nov. 25 broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation/Science Friday” program.

The 15th 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will be held Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. inside Sanders Theatre. Tickets are available at the Harvard Box Office inside Holyoke Center (open Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m.). Call (617) 496-2222 for tickets. In addition, on Oct. 8 at 1 p.m., the informal Ig Nobel lectures – free and open to the public – will be held at MIT. For ceremony and lecture information, visit