On October 1, 2009, during the 19th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts, eight Nobel Prize Laureates removed a 22-inch solid steel sword from Ig Nobel Prize Laureate sword swallower Dan Meyer's throat.
The Nobel Laureates involved:
Rich Roberts - Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine, 1993
Wolfgang Ketterle - Nobel Prize in Physics, 2001
Dudley Herschbach - Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1986
Paul Krugman - Nobel Prize in Economics, 2008
Roy Glauber - Nobel Prize in Physics, 2005
Frank Wilczek - Nobel Prize in Physics, 2004
Martin Chalfie - Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2008
William Lipscomb - Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1976
CRITERIA TO BEAT RECORD:
- sword swallower must be a legitimate sword swallower officially verified and recognized by the Sword Swallowers Association International
- sword must be a solid steel non-retractable sword with a blade at least 15 inches in length
- Nobel Laureates must be recognized bonafide Nobel Laureates who have actually been awarded an official Nobel Prize
Click the pics to see the action.
HT: Improbable Research who stage the Ig® Nobels,last year's theme was RISK:
...(A full report, with action photos, appears in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. Click here to see details and video of last year's (2008) ceremony, here to see the Improbable Research special issue about that ceremony. And for a journalist's view of the ceremony, read Steve Nadis's firsthand account.)
Part 1: Pre-show Risk Cabaret Concert by The Penny-wise Guys, and the very, very beginning of the ceremony.
Part 2: Lots of introductions. Several past winners return. Benoit Mandelbrot's keynote address.
Part 3: Awarding of several prizes. First 2 acts of the mini-opera. The 24/7 Lectures.
Part 4: Awarding of the rest of the prizes. Win-a-Date contest. Thrilling conclusion of the mini-opera.
Special thanks to these supporters — they helped make the ceremony possible:
Theme: The theme of this year's ceremony is: RISK.
(The theme pertains to some of the goings-on at the ceremony, though not necessarily to any of the year's prize-winning achievements).
PREVIEWS: VIDEO: rehearsals of "The Big Bank Opera" (click on the image). Also: thoughts from a past Ig winner, from Cambridge Day, from AOL News, and from longtime Ig connoisseurs Dave Brooks and Steve Nadis.
In addition to the awarding of the Prizes, the ceremony included a variety of momentously inconsequential events:
"Talk of the Nation/ Science Friday with Ira Flatow."
- Keynote Address (60 seconds long): Benoit Mandelbrot on the topic: RISK.
- The Big Bank Opera: World premiere of this 4-act mini-opera starring Maria Ferrante and Ben Sears, and pianist Branden Grimmett, conducted by David Stockton. Stylish bankers in a swanky Wall Street bar explained the explosive rise and fall of big banking and big bankers.
[VIDEO: Watch edited video of the premiere: Act 1; Act 2; Act 3; Act 4]
[LIBRETTO: The libretto is published in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research.
- Risk Cabaret Pre-Concert: A special pre-ceremony concert (began at 7:15 pm) starring The Penny-Wise Guys (Nick Carstoiu, Michael Ricca, Neara Russell, and a little big band) presenting juicy cabaret songs about risk, reward, and Bernie Madoff.
- Pre--pre-show Boston Squeezebox Ensemble concert in lobby (began at 6:45 pm), led by Thomas Michel.
[VIDEO: See a few moments of their performance here].
- The Nobel laureates who physically handed the Ig Nobel Prizes to the new winners:
- The 24/7 Lectures, in which several of the world's top thinkers explained his or her 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.
The lecturers and their topics:
- Wade Adams, director of the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science & Technology, at Rice University.
- Stephen Wolfram, creator of Wolfram Alpha and of Mathematica, and author of the book A New Kind of Science.
- Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, and 2008 Nobel laureate in economics.
- Deborah J. Anderson, Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine, and 2008 Ig Nobel Medicine Prize winner.
- The Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest
- Karen Hopkin, creator of the Studmuffins of Science Calendar
- Returning Ig Nobel Prize winners:
- Don Featherstone (creation of the plastic pink flamingo)
- Deborah Anderson (effectiveness of Coca-Cola as a spermicide)
- Francis Fesmire (digital rectal massage as cure for intractable hiccups)
- Rebecca Waber (high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine)
- Dan Meyer (swordswallowing and its side effects)
- Gala Introduction of the Audience Delegations
- All speeches were brief, and thus especially delightful
- The Minordomos (Genevieve Reynolds, Julia Lunetta, James Mahoney, Anna Eliseeva, Zack Fisher, Peaco Todd, Randall (XKCD) Munroe [absent because of illness] and Danielle Streifthau) made most things run smoothly on stage.
- The V-Chip Monitor, Prominent New York Attorney William J. Maloney, guarded against offensive words, sounds, thoughts, or imaginings.
- Portions of the ceremony were simultaneously translated into several languages, in a manner most pleasing.
- The Traditional "Welcome, Welcome" Speech
- The Traditional "Goodbye, Goodbye" Speech
- Other wondrous things
Now do you understand why they're on the blogroll?