The 31st First Annual
Ig Nobel Ceremony
September 9, 2021
[NOTE: the NEXT Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will happen on September 15, 2022]
[VIDEO NOTE: YouTube’s notorious takedown algorithms blocked the original recording of the ceremony recording. We were unable to find a human at YouTube who could fix that. So we made a slightly new version, which you see here, above. The new version is identical to the original, except that we substituted in a new, special performance of the old song “Funiculi Funicula”, and made a few small tweaks to some captions and other bits. Here, below, is the earlier version, which lives on Vimeo.]
|What Languages? | Ceremony Details|
|Support The Igs | Ig Informal Lectures|
In addition to the usual English-language stream, there was a separate stream in Japanese, on Nico Nico. (And you can go visit the special Ig Nobel exhibition in Fukuoka, Japan, which runs from September 9 through November 3, 2021)
The ceremony itself included these traditional elements:
- Winners — Ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners were introduced. Each winner (or winning team) has done something that makes people LAUGH, then THINK
- Presenters — A gaggle of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel laureates handed the Ig Nobel Prizes to the new Ig Nobel winners. Here’s the gaggle:
- Theme — the theme of the 2021 ceremony, evinced in the opera and other bits, was ENGINEERING.
- Mini-Opera — A new mini-opera (called “A Bridge Between People”) premiered as part of the ceremony. The crude drawing you see here summarizes the opera’s plot. Starring:
- The Engineering Instrumentation Orchestra— Yulia Yun (piano), Dr. Julie Reimann (cello), Dr. Thomas Michel (accordion).
- The Narrators— Karen Hopkin and Christopher Hopkin.
- The Soloists— Dr. Abby Schiff, Ted Sharpe, Dr. Fred Tsai, Lisa Ferretti, Michael Skuhersky, David Kessler, Cinda Lavely, David Perasso, and singer/ opera director Maria Ferrante.
- Portaborse: Michele Liguori.
- 24/7 Lectures — Several of the world’s great thinkers told us, briefly, what they were thinking about (first in 24 seconds, then in 7 words) in the 24/7 Lectures. This year’s lecturers and topics:
- Paper Planes — Paper airplanes flew.
- Welcome, Goodbye — The traditional Welcome, Welcome Speech and the traditional Goodbye, Goodbye Speech, were each delivered by Jean Berko Gleason, who maintained the standard for what welcome speeches and goodbye speeches should be.
- With… video direction, engineering, and alchemy by Bruce Petschek / Seven Generations Video; animation by Tempe Hale, Julian Petschek, Lily Ericsson, Nick Tinsley, and Bruce Petschek; webcast engineering by Richard Baguley; fanfare music by Zachary Hickman, Dietrich Strause, Dr. Thomas Michel, Julia Lunetta, Ivan Gusev, and Alexey Eliseev; ceremonial announcements by Karen Hopkin, Christopher Hopkin, Sabine Begall, and Robin Abrahams; prize design by Eric Workman; and deft diplomacy by Stephanie Clayman and Adele Traub.
WE ASK FOR YOUR HELP
Normally, we fund the ceremony almost entirely from ticket revenues, plus a few small amounts from generous donors. But in the Covid-19 pandemic years 2020 and 2021 there are no theater tickets, and so no ticket revenues. Our expenses were lower (no theater rental!), but still substantial. If you or your organization would like to help, please donate to the Ig.
THE IG INFORMAL LECTURES
In the Ig Informal Lectures, the new winners explain, if they can, what they did and why they did it.
Normally the lectures happen at MIT, two days after the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. But in this pandemic year, they will happen online only, one at a time, on http://www.improbablecom.wpcomstaging.com and on YouTube.
- Thurs, Sept 16, 2021. Peace Prize Ig Informal Lecture
- Thurs, Sept 23, 2021. Biology Ig Informal Lecture
- Thurs, Sept 30, 2021. Transportation Prize Ig Informal Lecture
- Thurs, Oct 21, 2021. Economics Prize Ig Informal Lecture
- Thurs, Oct 28, 2021. Ecology Prize Ig Informal Lecture
- Thurs, Nov 4, 2021. Physics Prize Ig Informal Lecture
- Thurs, Nov 11, 2021. Kinetics Prize Ig Informal Lecture
- OTHERS to be announced
Here are the lectures:
Ig Informal Lecture for the Peace Prize:
Ig Informal Lecture for the Biology Prize:
Ig Informal Lecture for the Transportation Prize:
Ig Informal Lecture for the Economics Prize:
Ig Informal Lecture for the Ecology Prize:
Ig Informal Lecture for the Physics Prize:
Ig Informal Lecture for the Kinetics Prize: