About The Ig® Nobel Prizes

This PBS NewsHour Weekend video, explains the essence of the Ig Nobel Prizes.


"The Stinker", the official mascot of the Ig Nobel Prizes.

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.  The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology. Every year, in a gala ceremony in Harvard's Sanders Theatre, 1200 splendidly eccentric spectators watch the winners step forward to accept their Prizes. These are physically handed out by genuinely bemused genuine Nobel laureates.

The 28th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will happen on Thursday, September 13, 2018. TICKETS are available from the Harvard Box Office.

(The 27th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony happened on Thursday, September 14, 2017. The ceremony was broadcast live online (as it has been every year beginning in 1995), and is archived on the Improbable Research YouTube Channel.)

"Last, but not least, there are the Ig Nobel awards. These come with little cash, but much cachet, and reward those research projects that 'first make people laugh, and then make them think'" Nature

"It's like the weirdest f-ing thing that you'll ever go to... it's a collection of, like, actual Nobel Prize winners giving away prizes to real scientists for doing f'd-up things... it's awesome."Amanda Palmer

Find videos and other details regarding past ceremonies on our Archive page Stay informed about upcoming Ig Nobel events by joining our private E-mail list. Please enter your E-mail here:


Who organizes the Ig Nobel Prizes?

The Ig Nobel Prizes are organized by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research. The ceremony is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students and the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association. Find out about other Ignitaries here.


Who has won this prize?

We have awarded 10 prizes each year since 1991. The winners page contains a complete list.


How do I find out about past years?

The Ig Archive page collects details, videos, and links from our past ceremonies.


What are the Ig Informal Lectures at MIT?

At the Thursday night ceremony, at Harvard, the winners are given only 60 seconds to explain themselves. Two days later, on Saturday afternoon, we give them considerably more time, plus a projector, so they can explain their achievement more fully, and answer friendly questions from the public.


Can I nominate someone for an Ig Nobel prize?

Of course! For details on how the nomination process works, please read here.


Has anyone ever turned down this award?

In almost every case, we quietly talk with those who are selected, and give them the option to decline the honor. Nearly all of them decide to accept, and also decide to come be part of the ceremony.


Are you ridiculing science?

No. We are honoring achievements that make people laugh, then think. Good achievements can also be odd, funny, and even absurd; So can bad achievements. A lot of good science gets attacked because of its absurdity. A lot of bad science gets revered despite its absurdity.


How can I get involved with next year's ceremony?

If you have five (5) or more tickets to the Ig Nobel ceremony, your group can choose to be an Official Audience Delegation, and thus be officially celebrated during the event. To register as a Delegation, first obtain tickets from the Harvard Box Office. Then register with Grand Panjandrum of the Delegations Louise Sacco: (+1) 781-444-6757. The deadline for delegation registration is the Friday before each year's ceremony, but tickets usually sell out much sooner.

Furthermore, if you or your organization are comfortable publicly demonstrating both a love of science and a sense of humor, we are always happy to consider volunteers or sponsors. For more information on either, please contact us at air@improbable.com or (+1) 617-491-4437.


Do you have a page collecting press coverage about the Igs?

Indeed we do! The Press Clips page collects the samples of other people talking about the Ig Nobel Prizes and Improbable Research.


What if I would like to read about the Ig Nobels in book format?

Several Ig Nobel books have been translated into many languages.


What if I'd like to see the Ig Nobels live, but can't make it to Cambridge?

You can watch the live webcast each year, AND you can watch videos of past ceremonies on our youTube Channel.  ... The Ig Nobel organizers and winners also present other events throughout the year and around the world that (we hope) make people laugh and then think. For a list of upcoming events (including the annual Ig Nobel Tour of the UK), see the schedule.



2009 winners at the ceremony

The 2009 Ig Nobel Prize winners, joined by nine amused Nobel laureates, take a bow as the ceremony concludes.  Photo: Richard Baguley.

Viliumas Malinauskus, founder of Stalin World, accepting the 2001 Ig Nobel Peace Prize. Photo: Caroline Coffman.


2004 Ig Nobel Peace Prize winner Daisuke Inoue -- the inventor of karaoke -- is serenaded by Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach (left), Richard Roberts and William Lipscomb, and by Studmuffins of Science creator Dr. Karen Hopkin. Listen to NPR's report.


The Japanese public TV network NHK created this documentary about the Igs in 2002. Click above to watch.


Ukraine TV

The Ukrainian INTER TV network sent a crew to the 2010 ceremony. Click on the image (above) to see their report.


Dutch filmmaker Bahram Sadeghi made six mini-documentaries, each about a different Ig Nobel Prize winner. Click the image above to watch the first in the series.


Andy Jordan of the Wall Street Journal attended the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, and brought his videocamera. Click the image above to watch his report.


CBS News profiled the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize winners. Click the image above to watch.

2009 Ig Nobel Public Health Prize winner Dr. Elena Bodnar demonstrates her inventiona brassiere that, in an emergency, can be converted into a pair of protective face masks — assisted by Nobel laureates Wolfgang Ketterle, Orhan Pamuk, and Paul Krugman. Click the image above to watch.


The Russian network NTV traveled the world to interview Ig Nobel Prize winners. Their ten-minute report was originally broadcast in December 2007. The image here shows an NTV reporter visiting the (Literature Prize-winning) Nudist Research Library in Kissimmee, Florida.


WCVB's Chronicle program did a five-minute introduction to the Ig in 2009. Click the image above to watch it.