The 18th First Annual Ig Nobel winners will be showered with applause and paper airplanes at Sanders Theatre on Thursday (Oct. 2). Traveling from four continents, the 10 award recipients will be honored for achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.”
With true Nobel laureates handing out the prizes, the event celebrates the unusual, honors the imaginative, and spurs interest in science. Organized by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) and sponsored by three Harvard student groups — The Harvard Society of Physics Students, the Harvard Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and the Harvard Computer Society — the event this year has the theme of “Redundancy.”
The ceremony will also be packed with sketches, including the Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest (William Lipscomb, age 89, will be this year’s Win-a-Date prize) and the premiere of the mini-opera “Redundancy, Again,” starring singers Maria Ferrante and Ben Sears (Harvard Law School), with conductor David Stockton (Office of the Provost) and backup operatic support from the Nobel laureates.
Thomas Michel, dean of education at Harvard Medical School, will open the ceremony by helping sword-swallower Dan Meyer repeat his performance. (Last year, Meyer won for his medical study “Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects,” also becoming the first person ever to swallow a sword in Sanders Theatre.)
The ceremony will include 24/7 Lectures, in which each prize winner must explain his or her subject in 24 seconds — with a complete technical description — and then in seven words, using a clear summary that anyone can understand.
There will be a live Webcast of the Ig Nobel ceremony at http://www.improbable.com beginning at 7:15 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 2). A special preconcert performance by singing duo Paul & Storm will kick things off with the awards ceremony beginning promptly at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Harvard Box Office at (617) 496-2222.