The Ig Nobel Collection

To help and enjoy the 20th annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony I am at the Improbable Research head office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The ceremony, for your information, will be at Thursday, September 30th 2010 and live web casted on YouTube (here). To my surprise, Marc Abrahams (founder of the Ig Nobel Prize and editor of the Annals of Improbable Research) has cleared part of the office. There I discovered what I would call the Ig Nobel Collection. In the collection are are some well preserved Ig Nobel Prizes (a welcome find because they are generally made of extremely cheap materials and tend to fall apart quickly), and other historical Ig-related stuff, such as the Plastic Flamingo, a dried bull penis, a bra, the Bow-Lingual, Dr Fran’s Anti-Hiccup Kit, a bottle of Tequila, some duck feathers, Clocky, Under-Ease Protective Underwear (for flatulence) and Roy Glauber’s broom.

Being here and being a museum professional I gave myself a new position: curator of the Ig Nobel Collection. I started to catalog it. The Ig Nobel Collection is not open to the public, but may travel in the future. To get an idea, here are some pictures.

A salute to all new and past Ig Nobel Prize winners

With Stand-In-Igduck 2008 [Alexei Elisev]On Ig Nobel night (in a few hours, the 2009 Ig Nobel prizes will be awarded in Sanders Theatre of Harvard University), I salute all new and past winners, and all people involved in the ceremony: next year the duck will quack again!

And here is an duck related quote I just found on

One of the greatest sentences in modern science writing: “Next to the obviously dead duck, another male mallard … mounted the corpse and started to copulate, with great force.” [read the complete paper here]

The 2009 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will be web-casted here – live – tonight at 19.15h Boston time or 01.15h Amsterdam time. The list of new winners will be on soon after the ceremony ended.

Duck in Aarhus, tonight

Mallard in Arhus‘The Duck’ is in Aarhus, Denmark. Tonight at seven I will talk about homosexual necrophilia in the mallard (and other birds) during the first show of the Ig Nobel Tour of Denmark at Aarhus University.

My fellow Ig Nobel prize winners Bart Knols, Magnus Wahlberg and Dan Meyer will also perform. So is Ig-founder Marc Abrahams. All you need to know is written here in English, and here in Danish. If you are in or close to Aarhus, join us: 7:00 pm. Søauditorierne, Aarhus University, Wilhelm Meyers Alle 1251.

The picture shows a Danish mallard, with the famous ARoS, Aarhus Kunstmuseum in the background.

Ig meets Nobel, again

Nobel laureate Wolfgang Ketterle, me and the duck

2001 Nobel laureate Wolfgang Ketterle (left), me and the duck.

Wolfgang Ketterle hands the 2003 Ig Nobel biologyprize to Kees Moeliker. (photo John Bradley)

An improbable (but real) reunion took place during the 2008 Alpbach Technology Forum in Tirol, Austria on August 23, 2008, where I was invited to talk – together with Marc Abrahams – about Improbable Research and the Ig Nobel prizes. Among the other plenary speakers were several Nobel laureates. One of them – Wolfgang Ketterle (2001 Physics) – I had met before (photo left), on October 2, 2003 in Sanders Theatre, Harvard University where he presented me the Ig Nobel Prize in biology for my paper on homosexual necrophilia in ducks (see my page on the duck). Almost five years later, we (Ketterle, me and the duck) met again (photo right) and brought back memories of the Ig Nobel prize ceremony.

Professor Ketterle kindly posed for this picture, taken by my daughter Sezen.

[Here is a ‘zweifelhaften’ report about my talk from the ORF website]