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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

When Great Minds Take a Hike


Silliness runs amok at the anuual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony

What do Nobel Laureates, Neil Gaiman, bacteria, Evelyn Evelyn and Harvard University have in common? All will be present at the Twentieth 1st Annual Ig Nobel Awards, run by the Annals of Improbable Research.

Once a year, some of the best minds in the world gather and bestow awards on people who have committed research you might find in News of the Weird. As always, the event will be held at Harvard University, home to lots of people who do all sorts of non-improbable research.

Silliness runs amok on the stage as the presenters introduce scientific research, astounding discoveries and amazing creations that first make you laugh, then make you think. Last year, for example, Dr. Elena Bodnar showed her invention, a bra that can be turned into a pair of gas masks in case of an emergency. She put one of the masks on New York Times columnist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, who suffered with good grace.

The audience is encouraged to launch paper airplanes at the stage at various times through the night. Winners are encouraged to speak clearly into the microphone by a mike monkey, who is known for moving the microphone or sometimes rearranging the winner instead. Should winners run long, an adorable little girl known as Miss Sweetie Poo will come out, repeating, “Please stop, I’m bored!” until the presentation is done. And one lucky audience member will win a date with a Nobel Laureate!

Tickets, alas, are sold out. But don’t despair; they were pretty expensive anyways. Watch the live webcast of the show this Thursday, September 30th, at 7 p.m.

Visit http://www.improbable.org for more information. And please, do not throw paper airplanes at your computer.