The 26th First Annual Ig® Nobel Prize Ceremony & Lectures

The 26th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony
Thursday, September 22, 2016, at 6:00 pm*
Sanders Theater, Harvard University
(twitter: #IgNobel)

*Pre-ceremony concert —and the webcast —begin at 5:40 pm (US Eastern Time)
  The ceremony proper begins at 6:00 pm

All speeches will be kept delightfully brief, enforcved by eight-year-old Miss Sweetie Poo.

The 26th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will introduce ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners – Each has done something that makes people laugh then think.

Winners travel to the ceremony, at their own expense, from around the world to receive their prize from a group of genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel Laureates, in Harvard’s historic and largest theater. Additional info will appear in the Improbable Research blog.

Live Webcast & Tweeting

(We’ve been webcasting since 1995!)


WEBCAST: Immediately below, please find and enjoy the webcast of the ceremony.



LIVE TWEETING: A keen official observer will live-tweet the ceremony, as will many of the audience members in Sanders Theatre:


TICKETS: This event has already happened.
Tickets for next year’s Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will go on sale in early July at the Harvard Box Office web site.

Stay informed about upcoming Ig Nobel events by joining our private E-mail list.
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Official Delegations

Groups of five (5) or more persons attending the Ig Nobel prize ceremony can be officially recognized during the ceremony as Official Delegations. If you would like your group recognized in this way, first obtain tickets, then register with Louise Sacco, Official Overseer of the Delegations (phone: 781-690-6621, email: LouiseSacco AT The deadline for registering as a delegation is a week before the ceremony.

Downloadable Poster & Program

Download your very own PDF copies of the 2016 Ceremony’s Spiffy Poster, identical to the ones we print for the ceremony.

2016 Ig Nobel ceremony poster 2016 Ig Nobel ceremony IgBill


We announce our biggest supporters on stage during the internationally broadcast prize ceremony. All supporters are thanked here on the website and/or in the IgBill (program).  Past supporters include corporations, laboratories, and local business.
Contact us to discuss becoming a supporter of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.


FIGS (Friends of the Ig) — Generous supporters of the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, who are helping the world laugh then think:
Redbones Pepper Hamilton


Ceremony Details


This 26th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony will include many improbable things:

    1. <! ———– Photos of Laureates ———–>

Nobel Laureates attending the 2016 Ig Nobel
    Prize Ceremony

    <! ——————————————->
  • The theme of this year’s ceremony (though not necessarily of the achievements that win prizes) is TIME.
  • Pre-Pre-Ceremony Concert in the transept (lobby): The Boston Squeezebox Ensemble (BSE): Thomas Michel, Colin Ferguson, Patrick Yacono, Betty Widersky, David Brancazio, Rebecca Cooper, Jooyeon June, Koo Sari Kalin
  • Two Moments of Science, by performing chemists Daniel Rosenberg, Isabelle Rosenberg, and Michael Skuhersky
  • The 24/7 LECTURES, in which several of the world’s top thinkers each explains her or his subject twice:
     FIRST: a complete technical description in TWENTY-FOUR (24) SECONDS**
     AND THEN: a clear summary that anyone can understand, in SEVEN (7) WORDS
    This year’s 24/7 Lecturers and their topics:
    • Patricia Brennan (biologist renowned for studies on the morphological evolution of reproductive structures): Duck Genital Morphology
    • Nicole Sharp (creator of FYFD, the world’s most popular web site about fluid dynamics): Fluid Dynamics
    • Rich Roberts (Nobel laureate, physiology or medicine): Clock Genes
    • Dudley Herschbach (Nobel laureate, chemistry): Time
<! —————OPERA—————————->
  • Premier of the mini-operaThe Last Second“, about a plot to secretly add an extra leap second to the world’s clocks, and secretly reap the financial benefits.
    • Music by Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti, Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, and Frédéric François Chopin. Story and words by Marc Abrahams
    • Directed by Maria Ferrante and Robin Abrahams
    • Starring Maria Ferrante and Scott Taylor
    • Featuring The Clock Chorus (Ellen Friend, Abby Schiff, Jean Cummings, Sue Wellington, Daniel Rosenberg, Kevin McCaughey, Michael Skuhersky, Ted Sharpe (chorus wrangler), John Jarcho, Fred Tsai, Erika Hutchinson, Jan Hadland, Kettly Benoit). The chorus ranks will be swelled, in the opera’s final act, by the Nobel laureates
    • Backed by the Concentrated Forces of Nature, a distilled orchestra composed entirely of Harvard Medical School researchers Patrick Yacono and Thomas Michel
    • (Prior to Act 1) Special Time Micro-Lecture by Jenny Hoffman (Harvard physics professor) on “What’s a leap second, and why do we create them?”
    • (Prior to Act 2) Special Time Micro-Lecture by John Lowe (NIST time scientist) on “How scientists decide when to create a leap second, and how we do it.”
    • (Prior to Act 3) Special Time Micro-Lecture by Eric Maskin (Nobel laureate in economics) on “The kinds of financial mischief that could be done during an unannounced extra leap second.”
<! ————————————————>
  • Ceremonial bows from several returning past Ig Nobel Prize winners
  • Fifteenth Wedding Anniversary visit and ceremonial bow by NASA scientists Lisa Danielson and Will Stefanov, who were married onstage in a 60-second-long ceremony during the 2001 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. (NOTE: That was the first wedding ever performed in Sanders Theatre.)
  • Ceremonial music by Nicholas Carstoiu and The Ig Leaves
  • Karen Hopkin, creator of the Studmuffins of Science Calendar
  • Salutes to the Audience Delegations
  • The Minordomos (Chris Deter, Eliza Kosoy, Julia Lunetta, Peaco Todd, Sylvia Rosenberg, Natasha Rosenberg, Pooja Usgaonkar, Emma Liddell) will make most things on stage run smoothly
  • Two grand Paper Airplane Deluges
  • Speeches will be kept brief, thanks to an experimental human-mechanical mechanism
  • The Traditional “Welcome, Welcome” Speech
  • The Traditional “Goodbye, Goodbye” Speech
  • Other wondrous things

The ceremony also celebrates the publication of two books: This Is Improbable Too, and The Ig Nobel Cookbook (volume 1)

This Is Improbable Too Ig Nobel Cookbook vol.1

** Time limits will be enforced by the the referee, Mr. John Barrett

Who’s Who: [coming soon] Click on the photo array to see many of the ceremony organizers and participants


If You Are Coming to Sanders Theatre…

WHERE: If you are walking, driving, T-ing, biking, or running to Sanders Theatre, you may want some directions. Here are: (1) a map and directions; and (2) the secret of how to pahk your cah near Hahvud Yahd.

WHAT TO WEAR: We suggest you wear clothing. Clothing that is, like you, colorful. People like yourself (or in some cases, very unlike yourself) in distant places, watching the broadcast and seeing occasional glimpses of the Sanders Theatre audience, will thrill to the panoply of colors, styles, and improbable accoutrements. This is the night to unearth your old wedding gown, uniform, suit of armor, labcoat or longjohns.

WHAT TO BRING: Paper, paper, paper. Paper to make into paper airplanes. Additional paper to give to those around you who may have forgotten to bring their own paper, and who as a consequence of their own neglect are forlornly wishing they could join in the thrill and intellectual romance of making and throwing paper airplanes. SAFETY FIRST, please! Paper airplanes should only be thrown at the safety-equipment-laden individual onstage who is the Designated Paper Airplane Target. Paper airplanes may only be made of paper.

NOTE: There will be two (2) designated Paper Airplane Deluge periods, one at the very start of the ceremony, the other at the ceremony’s midpoint.


The Ig Informal Lectures
Saturday, Sep 24, 2016, 1:00 pm
MIT, building 26, room 100.


A half-afternoon of improbably funny, informative, informal, brief public lectures and demonstrations:

  • The new Ig Nobel Prize winners will attempt to explain what they did, and why they did it.
  • The Ig Nobel Prize winners will be available for you to talk with, both before and after the lectures

The Ig informal Lectures are a free event, organized in cooperation with the MIT Press Bookstore.

Here’s video of the lecture by the 2016 Ig Nobel Peace Prize winners:


Special Thanks To…

All Ig Nobel Prize activities are organized by the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR). The ceremony is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association (HRSFA), and the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students (SPS).