The 24/7 Lectures

Each year at the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, we invite some of the world’s top thinkers to tell us what they are thinking about.

Each 24/7 Lecturer explains their topic twice:

First, a complete, technical description, in 24 seconds
Then, a clear summary that anyone can understand, in 7 words

The referee and V-Chip Monitor look on while Nobel Laureate William Lipscomb gives his 2008 Lecture


The Referee.  The 24-second time limit is enforced by our referee – who is often Mr. John Barrett, a long time referee at sporting events. Each year he offers this advice to the lecturers: “Gentlemen, keep it clean!”  Other referees have included Robin Abrahams, Zachariah Hickman, Dietrich Strauss, and Jeremy Bell.

The NSFW Indicator.  This service is usually provided by noted New York Attorney William J. Maloney. He monitors each lecture in a cosmetic attempt to protect the audience’s eyes, ears, or (in the case of webcast viewers) fingertips from encountering offensive material. (NOTE: Originally, this on-stage role was called the “V-Chip Monitor.”)

Explore lectures by year:


(Links + content of the older lectures will be added to the site in due course — stay tuned!)

Also check out:


The Emergency Bra

Lecturer: Elena Bodnar  (Medical doctor, Founder and President of the Trauma Risk Management Research Institute in Chicago. Received an Ig Nobel Prize, in 2009, for inventing the Emergency Bra — a brassiere that in an emergency can be quickly separated into a pair of protective face masks.)

In 24 Seconds:  “The Emergency Bra is a personal protective garment with the primary function to support the breasts. It can quickly and easily transform into two face masks to decrease the inhalation of harmful particles in case of an emergency. During pandemics, such as COVID, it also serves the additional function of protecting others by reducing exposure to the respiratory secretions of the mask wearer when standard PPE is not readily available..” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Emergency bra masks protect others. Care. Wear. Share.”
[Actual Number of Words Used: 8]

When in the ceremony video: 0:22:20

Elena Bodnar, 24/7 Lecturer

Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)

Lecturer: Marty Chalfie  (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, for discovering and developing Green Fluorescent Protein – “GFP”)

In 24 Seconds:  “The eleven beta strains and single alpha helix of the Aequorea victoria Green Fluorescent Protein form a beta-can, which auto-catalytically cyclizes the peptide backbone between Serine 65 and Glycine 67 to form a resonance structure that absorbs light at 470 nm and emits light at 509. Transcriptional and translational fusions allow biological processes in eukaryotes, prokaryotes, and archaea to be studied in real time.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “GFP: Shine blue, see green, watch life.”
[Actual Number of Words Used: 7]

When in the ceremony video: 0:24:17

Martie Chalfie, 24/7 Lecturer

Computer Bugs

Lecturer: Masako Kishida  (Associate Professor at the National Institute of Informatics, Tokyo, Japan)

In 24 Seconds:  “A computer bug is an error or flaw in software or hardware, that causes unexpected behaviors. Whether you use Python, Java, Scratch, Matlab, Haskell, Nadesiko, BrainCrash, LOLCODE, or Whitespace to write computer code, the more complex the program is, the more bugs there are. One of the bugs that is fussy/finicky/persnickety to fix is a heisen-bug, which seems to disappear when we try to investigate it..” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Bugs: can’t find them, can’t avoid them.”
[Actual Number of Words Used: 7]

When in the ceremony video: 0:37:30

Masako Kishida, 24/7 Lecturer


Lecturer: Mark Hostetler  (Professor at the Wildlife Ecology & Conservation Department, at the University of Florida. Received the Ig Nobel Prize for his book, “That Gunk on Your Car”, which identifies the insect splats that appear on automobile windows)

In 24 Seconds:  “Insects are the most diverse group of animals, with over 1 million species described. Flying, swimming, and crawling, we encounter them every day, often without even realizing it. Incredibly important as pollinators and as part of the food chain, we cannot live without them. Incredible animals. Think of butterfly eclosing from a chrysalis. I’m sitting here on my porch, there’s butterflies all around me, and all kinds of…” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Insects are part of everything we eat.”
[Actual Number of Words Used: 7]

When in the ceremony video: 0:38:47

Mark Hostetler, 24/7 Lecturer

The Insect Apocalypse

Lecturer: May Berenbaum  (Professor & Head of Entomology at the University of Illinois. Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.)

In 24 Seconds:  “Long-term studies now document catastrophic declines in insect biomass and diversity, in what’s called the “insect apocalypse.” Anthropogenic causes include habitat loss via monoculture agriculture, urbanization, resource extraction and greenhouse gas emissions. Declines are consequential because insects contribute irreplaceable ecosystem services, including pollination for the world’s angiosperms, nutrient cycling, and biocontrol. They’re keystone species in a myriad of trophic webs on which humans depend.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Insects: you’ll be sorry when they’re gone!”
[Actual Number of Words Used: 7]

Lecture Notes: The referee signalled time during the final word (“…depend”) of the lecture. Using the (baseball) principle that “tie goes to the runner”, we have catalogued this lecture as “within the time limit.”

When in the ceremony video: 0:54:44

May Berenbaum, 24/7 Lecturer

Bee Stings

Lecturer: Michael Smith  (Entomologist at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Received the Ig Nobel prize for carefully arranging for honey bees to sting him repeatedly on 25 different locations on his body, to learn which locations are the least painful and which most painful.)

In 24 Seconds:  “Honey bee defensive maneuvers typically target key regions on mammalian subjects, suggesting that evolutionary pressures have shaped the superorganism for the efficient delivery of defense. While pressure pain is well characterized during the human experience, we (me) wanted to determine if, and if so, how, the painfulness of honey bee stings would map across the human body, similar to a sting pain somatosensory homunculus. The most painful locations aggregate at airways, suggesting that the human body prioritizes pain to match vulnerability..” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Bee stings: some spots are seriously painful”
[Actual Number of Words Used: 7]

When in the ceremony video: 0:56:08

Michael Smith, 24/7 Lecturer



Lecturer: Rich Roberts  (Nobel Laureate, Biochemist at New England Biolabs)

In 24 Seconds:  “Serendipity is exemplified When your ‘clever’ experiment fails because Nature is trying to tell you something important and it leads to a Nobel Prize winning discovery. It’s also exemplified when you’re booked on a plane flying from Boston to Los Angeles on Sept 11th and the meeting you are attending is moved one day earlier, and at the last minute you have to fly on September 10th instead. This happened to me in 2001.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Serendipity means good luck has struck again”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:38:44

Rich Roberts, 24/7 Lectures

Theory Of Mind

Lecturer: Joanna Morris  (Professor of cognitive science at Hampshire College)

In 24 Seconds:  “Theory of mind is the ability to impute mental states – beliefs, intentions, desires, emotions – to oneself, and to others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one’s own. Theory mind is properly viewed as a theory, because mental states are not directly observable. Each human can only intuit the existence of his or her own mind through introspection, and no one has direct access to the mind of another. The presumption that others have a mind enables one to understand that mental states…” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Surprise! Other people are just like you.”
[Actual Number of Words Used: 7]

Lecture Notes: Had time allowed, the lecturer might have continued with “…can be the cause of – and thus be used to explain and predict – the behavior of others”.

When in the ceremony video:  0:40:03

Joanna Morris, 24/7 Lectures


Lecturer: Julie Skinner Vargas  (President of the B.F. Skinner Foundation)

In 24 Seconds:  “You told me 24 words, so these are 24 words: A habit is an operant under discriminative control of S.D.s, correlated with facilitating postcedents which are delivered when emitted in their presence” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “A habit is acting as usual, again”
[Actual Number of Words Used: 7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:41:09

Julie Skinner Vargas, 24/7 Lectures

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

Lecturer: Cari Cesarotti  (Graduate Student at Harvard’s Center for the Fundamental Laws of Nature)

In 24 Seconds:  “The LHC is a 27-kilometer ring that pumps protons with energy as they cycle around. Any driver knows that fast objects don’t make sharp turns, and the large radius is needed to keep the protons on track. When the protons finally collide, we can probe their particle substructure at a billionth of a billionth of a meter, and their energy is converted into sprays of new, heavy, or exotic particles too unstable for our world.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Measure small by building big; size matters”
[Actual Number of Words Used: 7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:55:05

Cari Cesarotti, 24/7 Lectures


Lecturer: Eric Maskin  (Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics at Harvard University)

In 24 Seconds:  “In most American elections each citizen votes for one candidate and the one with the most votes wins. This is a flawed system, it led to Donald Trump. Trump won Republican primaries by less than a majority because the anti-Trump vote was split over fifteen other candidates. A better system lets voters rank candidates. If no one gets a majority of first-place votes, the least favorite is dropped, second-ranked choices move into first place, and the process continues until there is a majority.” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Let a majority choose who’s in authority”
[Actual Number of Words Used: 7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:56:05

Eric Maskin, 24/7 Lectures

Mathematical Truth

Lecturer: Rebecca Nesson  (Associate Dean of the Harvard College Curriculum and Lecturer on Computer Science)

In 24 Seconds:  “Gödel proved that no consistent formal system that’s expressive enough for arithmetic could derive all mathematical truths. In his system each proposition encodes both an arithmetical and a logical claim. His proposition P is an arithmetical proposition which encodes also the logical claim that it’s not provable. If P is provable then it’s false, but also true.” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “We can know truths that we can’t prove”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  8]

When in the ceremony video:  0:57:14

Rebecca Nessno, 24/7 Lectures


The Brain

Lecturer: Suzana Herculano-Houzel  (Brazilian Neuroscientist who figured out how to figure out how many cells are in a brain)

In 24 Seconds:  “The sustained activity of excitable cerebral cells requires post-discharge repolarization against the membraned electrochemical gradient and demands energy influx that, absent photosynthesis, must be supplied by alimentation at a rate of 6 kilocalories per billion neurons a day, which exceeds the provisional capacity of unadulterated fodder in natura (?) and curtails the evolutionary expansion of the encephalon unless counteracted by technologies for preliminary extra-corporeal digestion.” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “brains are expensive, cooking allows more neurons”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:39:01

Suzana Herculano-Houzel, 24/7 Lectures

Super Black In Animals

Lecturer: Dakota McCoy  (Harvard graduate student in Evolutionary Biology, who discovered a previously unrecognized form of the color black in certain animals )

In 24 Seconds:  “Most colors in nature are produced by chemical pigments, whereby photons of particular energy excite electrons within the pigment, causing a change in the color of reflected or transmitted light, but some animals evolved mechanism in their integuement that multiply scatter light between the 3-dimensional micro structures leading to near-complete incremental absorption broadband featureless black. This is mechanistically analogous to man-made materials such as silicon structured by femto laser blasting.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Some animals are very, very, very black.”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:40:20

Dakota McCoy, 24/7 Lectures

Incomplete Contracts

Lecturer: Oliver Hart  (Economist who won a Nobel Prize for developing a practically complete, theoretical understanding of incomplete contracts )

In 24 Seconds:  “Look up many contracts and they will have gaps and ambiguities. Take my agreement with Marc Abrahams to give this lecture; the agreement doesn’t say what should happen if there is a hurricane – quite topical – or Sanders Theatre burns down – heaven forbid. Lawyers and economists call such agreements incomplete. Incompleteness can explain why firms are sometimes superior to markets.” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Good contracts are remarkably difficult to write”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:48:55

Oliver Hart, 24/7 Lectures


Lecturer:  Natalia Berry  (Heart specialist based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and an instructor at Harvard Medical School)

In 24 Seconds:  “Cardiology is the domain of medicine pertaining to the heart and blood vessels. Cardiologists treat coronary disease, heart failure, valvular pathologies, vascular diseases, cardiac arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, and cardiomyopathies. Cardiologists listen to their patients’ stories as well as their heart sounds, and use EKGs, echocardiograms, stress tests, cardiac catheterization, advanced imaging, electrophysiological studies, as well as a vast array of powerful drugs and other innovative interventions to save and prolong life.” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “The Heart: Engine of Life… and love”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:50:28

Natalia Berry, 24/7 Lectures

Viral Evolution

Lecturer: Pardis Sabeti  (Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Pioneer in computational biology)

In 24 Seconds:  “The 2013-16 West African ebola outbreak led to over 28,000 confirmed cases starting from a single entry into the human population. Over numerous rounds of human to human transmission ebola virus genome replication generated thousands of mutations including an alanine availing non-synonymous change in ebola’s glycoprotein. Based on multiple in-vitro studies, this mutation increases infectivity of ebola in a variety of human and non-human primate cell types.” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Viruses can change very fast, they’re scary”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:51:53

Pardis Sabeti, 24/7 Lectures



Lecturer:  Aleksandra Przegalinska    (Professor of Artificial Intelligence and the Philosophy of Technology at Kozminski University in Poland, and a researcher at MIT)

In 24 Seconds:  “We presented a study of human-bot interaction based on an experiment that consisted of two parts: measurement of psychophysiological reactions to chatbot users and a detailed questionnaire that focused on assessing willingness to talk to a robot or chatbot. Our particular focus was on the “Uncanny Valley” effect, and in the experiment, we juxtaposed the EDA channel with a digital input channel, and the data indicated a very strong positive correlation between the uncanny valley effect and negative affect evaluation. ” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Robots that talk are perceived as stupid”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:38:00


Lecturer:  Eric Maskin    (Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics at Harvard University)

In 24 Seconds:  “Uncertainty is the heart of economic life. What do oilmen, poker players, and bond traders have in common? Oilmen drill their wells, poker players look for tells, and traders time their sells in order to exploit other people’s uncertainty. A party who does this well will earn a profit. Then the other parties will cry if they want to.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Uncertainty is the only sure thing – perhaps”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:39:23

Eric Maskin, 24/7 Lectures

Biomedical Research

Lecturer:  Elizabeth Henske    (Head of Henske Labs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School)

In 24 Seconds:  “Biomedical Research is the investigation of health and disease by physicians and scientists worldwide, partnering with patients, driven by data, and seeking to prevent, treat and cure devastating diseases like AIDS, cancer, diabetes, leukemia, lupus, parasitic disease, tuberous sclerosis, and lymphangioleiomyomatosis, using tools including genetics, genomics, epigenomics, metagenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, high throughput screens, and Phase I, II, and III clinical trials.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Biomedical research is good for your health”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  While onstage, the lecturer checked the heart rate of Referee John Barrett with her stethoscope.

When in the ceremony video:  0:48:15

The Forces Required to Drag Sheep Across Various Surfaces

Lecturer:  John Culvenor    (Expert in Industrial Ergonomics, Human Factors Engineering and Occupational Health and Safety. Co-Author of the study, “An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep Across Various Surfaces”)

In 24 Seconds:  “Greetings folks. The title of the speech is “Rejoice”.

After searching all night
It was there in the light
Hey mate, a sheep, what a wonderful sight
So woolly, so bright
But watch out cobber, that jumbuck’s not light
It is not slight
You must drag it from a height
Remember…” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “…Newton was right, eat apples and Vegemite”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:49:37


Lecturer:  Alicia Pérez-Porro    (Doctor of Zoology and Animal Biology, specializing in marine sponges, at the Smithsonian Institute and Harvard University. Member of Homeward Bound 2018)

In 24 Seconds:  “Marine sponges are sessile filter-feeder invertebrates at the base of Metazoan’s evolutionary tree. They have a key role in marine ecosystems and different levels of resiliency to climate change. Because of this, some reefs have been reportedly switching from coral to sponge dominated. I use genomic techniques to reveal the genetic toolkit behind acclimation to climate change in reef sponges.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Our earliest animal ancestors are marine sponges”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:51:24


Clock Genes

Lecturer:  Rich Roberts    (Nobel Laureate, Biochemist at New England Biolabs)

In 24 Seconds:  “The original Circadian Locomotor Output Cycles Kaput or CLOCK gene encodes a basic helix-loop-helix-PAS transcription factor called CLOCK that is one of a family of genes that control circadian rhythm in mammals. More than 20 genes are involved with such catchy names as “Period” and “Cryptochrome”. The products of many of them are activate on others in…” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Clock genes are responsible for jet lag.”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  Had time allowed, the lecturer might have continued with “…successive fashion making up an auto-regulatory feedback loop for which one complete cycle takes about 24 hours”.

When in the ceremony video:  0:37:16

Duck Genital Morphology

Lecturer:  Patricia Brennan    (Evolutionary Biologist and Behavioral Ecologist, specializing in the morphological evolution of reproductive structures)

In 24 Seconds:  “In many species of ducks, males often fail to attract a mate, so they resort to forcing copulations on females. Males can sexually force females because their penis functions with an explosive eversion mechanism that quickly and forcefully inseminates females, despite their resistance. Females however have coevolved vaginas with dead ends and spirals that prevent full penis eversion when she is not receptive” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Deviant duck dicks foiled by fabulous vaginas.”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  Had time allowed, the lecturer might have continued with “…This genital coevolution shows how sexual conflict results in evolutionary arms races.”.

When in the ceremony video:  0:38:23


Lecturer:  Dudley Herschbach    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of chemistry at Harvard University)

In 24 Seconds:  “Time is precisely the difference between now and then. Cosmologists assure us that it began in a Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. The universe has been expanding ever since. Recent discoveries show the expansion is accelerating. If that continues the cosmos will become both infinite and eternal… ” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Time and tide won’t wait for us.”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:   The Lecturer received a Yellow Warning Card from the Referee for ignoring the whistle (multiple times) and continuing with, “…But within 5 billion years the sun will turn into a red giant and swallow our earth… “.

When in the ceremony video:  0:52:23

Fluid Dynamics

Lecturer:  Nicole Sharp    (Engineer, Ph.D, and creator of FYFD, the world’s most popular web site about fluid dynamics)

In 24 Seconds:  “Fluid Dynamics – A branch of classical mechanics derived from 19th century hydrodynamics and hydrology that recapitulates the locomotion of mutable substances. Governed by a series of unsteady, nonlinear partial differential equations of the second order including continuity, energy, Navier-Stokes, and in some cases Maxwell’s equations and multi-species reactions. Subdisciplines include rheology, combustion, granular mechanics, aeroelasticity, magnetohydrodynamics, hemodynamic, lubrication theory, and quantum hydrodynamics.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “If it can flow, we study it.”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:53:59


Firefly Sex

Lecturer:  Sara Lewis    (Tufts Professor of Evolutionary Behavioral Ecology, author of “Silent Sparks”)

In 24 Seconds:  “Fireflies are beetles in the family Lampyridae that use bioluminescent signals to find mates. Flying males broadcast signals as they search for females, who respond to intraspecific variation in male flash timing: Females prefer longer flashes and faster flash rates. Firefly females mate with multiple males, so postcopulatory sexual selection has driven males to invest heavily in nuptial gifts. These are nutritious sperm-containing spermatophores that females use to provision their eggs. Males with larger gifts benefit because they sire more offspring.” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Female fireflies favor fancy food-filled flashers”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The lecturer brought a firefly finger-puppet to use as a visual aid.

When in the ceremony video:  0:47:22


Lecturer:  Frank Wilczek    (Nobel Laureate and Professor of Physics at MIT)

In 24 Seconds:  “Beauty is what we experience when the external world stimulates our reward system, causing a release of dopamine we feel as pleasure. Natural selection uses this device to encourage behavior that increases fitness. Sexual partners are beautiful; so are things that makes sense.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Beauty: We like it when we see it.”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  8]

When in the ceremony video:  0:49:00


Lecturer:  Deborah Anderson    (Boston University Medical School Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Microbiology, and 2008 Ig Nobel Prize Winner)

In 24 Seconds:  “Life depends on reproduction; All living organisms do it. Unicellular organisms do it by asexual, binary fission. Multicellular organisms produce gametes which fuse. Human reproduction involves internal fertilization by sexual intercourse. During this process, the male inserts his erect penis into the female’s moist vagina and ejaculates semen which contains sperm.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Protists multiply by dividing, humans prefer sex”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The V-Chip Monitor appeared to be concerned, but did not halt this lecture.

When in the ceremony video:  0:50:17


Lecturer:  Jack Szostak    (Nobel Laureate, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Alexander Rich Distinguished Investigator at Massachusetts General Hopital)

In 24 Seconds:  “The first protocells used nonenzymatic chemical processes to replicate ribonucleic acid templates by primer extension with 2-methyl-5′-phosphorimidazole-activated nucleotide monomers. To understand and improve this process we look at monomer binding by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, x-ray crystallography, and study reaction kinetics using synthetic substrate analogs, kinetic isotope effects, quantum mechanical modeling, and molecular dynamics. [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Life from chemistry: how did it happen?”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:58:09

Internet Cat Videos

Lecturer:  Jessica Gall Myrick    (Assistant Professor at Indiana University Media School)

In 24 Seconds:  “My study, called ‘Emotion regulation, procrastination, and watching cat videos online: Who watches Internet cats, why, and to what effect?’, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, provided empirical data on predictors and subsequent effects of consuming audiovisual feline-focused media. Mood management theory successfully predicted respondents’ reports that post-consumption emotions were more positive than pre-consumption, and the experience also left viewers feeling energized. A moderation-mediation model demonstrated that guilt from using online felines to procrastinate could be overcome by the positive emotional payoff of viewing this genre.” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “Grumpy Cat can actually make us happy”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:59:30


Income Inequality

Lecturer:  Eric Maskin    (Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics at Harvard University)

In 24 Seconds:  “The dispersion of the income distribution as measured by the Gini coefficient – not to be confused with the ‘I dream of Gini’ coefficient – has expanded in many developed and emerging economies. One explanation is skilled-biased technical change, wherein the productivity of high-skill workers is enhanced by technical progress more than for their lower-skilled contemporaries. An alternative theory by Thomas Piketty works through the interest rate exceeding population growth. Critics say Piketty’s theory is ricketty. He says they’re too persnickety.” [Time called by the Referee]

In 7 Words:  “The rich get richer. The poor… don’t”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The Lecturer’s written notes point out that Picketty’s theory works through the differential between interest and population growth rates.

When in the ceremony video:  0:36:21


Lecturer:  Corky White    (Professor of Anthropolopgy at Boston University, Co-Author of The Ig Nobel Cookbook vol.1)

In 24 Seconds:
“Pacojet, Taco lab, Vat meat, Soylent.
Nathan Myrvold, Harold McGee, Ferran Adria, Sous vide.
Michael Pollan, Colonel Sanders, Uncle Ben.
Roy Choi, Roy Rogers, Ottolenghi, Julia Child.
Forager, Paleo, Locavore, Gleaner.
Insectivore, Gluten-free, Cannibal, Vegan.
Hostess Twinkies, Chicharrones, Ramen, Haggis!” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Pemmican to Nordic – Ess ess mein kind”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  The lecturer divided her “Food Rap” into these categories: Food Science, Food People, Food Diets, and Food.

When in the ceremony video:  0:38:13


Lecturer:  Carol Greider    (Nobel Laureate and Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University)

In 24 Seconds:  “Telomeres are repeated DNA sequences, TTAGGG, TTAGGG, etc. that protect chromosome ends. Every time a cell divides, some sequence is lost and telomeres shorten. However! Telomerase can come to the rescue and elongate telomeres by adding TTAGGG, TTAGGG, etc… So telomeres are in a continuous equilibrium: shortening and lengthening, shortening and lengthening, when they are too short, cells die. ” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Telomeres: keeping your cells alive since… forever”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

When in the ceremony video:  0:58:53


Lecturer:  Rob Rhinehart    (Creator of Soylent, an “open-source nutritional drink”)

In 24 Seconds:  “Metabolism can be understood as two complimentary processes: Catabolism, which breaks down organic matter into constituent matter and energy via cellular respiration, and anabolism, which builds these components back up into useful complexes, such as proteins and nucleic acids. Enzymes are the proteins that are keys to these chemical transformations. Fundamentally, metabolism is about controlling the flow of energy which originates in the super-hot core of the sun via fusion.” [Within the time limit]

In 7 Words:  “Thanks to enzymes, humans are solar powered”
[Actual Number of Words Used:  7]

Lecture Notes:  After this lecturer was done, The attending Nobel Laureates were given glasses of soylent to drink. Most of them drank it.

When in the ceremony video:  1:00:15

(Past lectures are currently being added to the site — stay tuned!)

Before the The 24/7 Lectures were invented, there were….

The Heisenberg Certainty Lectures

Each Heisenberg Certainty Lecturer had 30 seconds to speak on a topic of his or her own choosing. The time limit was enforced by the Referee, Mr. John Barrett.

These lectures are named after The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which in turn is named after Nobel Laureate Werner Heisenberg. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that, while you can determine either the location or the momentum of a sub-atomic particle, it is impossible to accurately measure both of them at the same time.

(Past lectures are currently being added to the site — stay tuned!)

Errata and Missing Information

It is entirely possible that there are errors in the transcriptions of these lectures. If you believe you have found such an error, please contact us.