Talk:Ig Nobel Prize

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"Genuine achiebements"[edit]

I reverted the edit that removed "With the exception of three prizes in the first year... all Ig Nobel Prizes have been for genuine achievements." since this is accurate, in the sense that the people/organizations who have received the awards are real and actually did the things that the prize references, even though the Igs sometimes throw a negative spin on those achievements (e.g., jacques eneviste). The point is that three prizes in the first year were for completely made-up groups and activities. Perhaps the anonymous person who removed it called it "false" - perhaps he/she could edit the statement to ease their concerns? - DavidWBrooks 20:52, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)


The Ig Nobel Prizes are a parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in early fall — a week or two before the recipients of the genuine Nobel Prizes are announced.

This year, at least, some prizes (Physics) were announced before the Igs, but some (Economics) had not. Research needed.

Could someone change the expression from fall/autumn for those of us living in the southern hemisphere?• Leon 05:14, 14 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Keeper of the Mop[edit]

The page on Roy_Glauber says he has the title "Keeper of the Broom". One of these pages has a mistake.

You are quite correct: It's always been a broom, not a mop! I've changed it. - DavidWBrooks 14:59, 7 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The first Ig Nobel awards were in 1989, Pons and Fleischmann won the Physics prize for cold fusion. Do not recall the others. Sheldon Glashow was an attendee.

Not according to [1]. Can you point to a source? Zarniwoot 00:38, 20 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Non-topic? comments[edit]

I recall seeing a photograph of the proceedings (awards) with Sheldon Glashow on stage. And the award to Pons and Fleischmann for cold fusion. But I don't have a reference ... I realize that I quote from memory, and I'm wrong about the date. But I know that Pons + Fleischmann won the Physics prize for Cold Fusion at the inaugural IgNobel awards ceremony. I see that in the list for 1991 there is no Physics prize, which is strange because physics is an obvious prize category. I believe the official record has been altered to drop P+F. Perhaps to avoid lawsuits. Check with Marc Abrahams? Oh well, that's life I suppose.

I can't find anything to support this with google. It sounds unlikely. Maybe you are confusing it with [2] or the 1993 or 1997 cold fusion related prizes? Zarniwoot 01:55, 21 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No it was the inaugural IgNobel ceremony. "Support this with google" is not definitive.... you might just get a reference back to yourself. It is curious that no Physics prize is mentioned for 1991. (Physics is a regular category in other years (but not 1991 and 1994)). Curious. Added note: this is only an indirect reference [3] (see p 6 reference to Dec 1991 IgNobel). I understand that IgNobel awards are (now) made with the permission of the recipient (and P+F would obviously not agree to any such award), but anyway... it's not the end of the world.

To beat a dead horse: Wikipedia does not list a physics prize for 1994, but such a prize was awarded, according to this reference[4]. The page lists 10 categories, Wikipedia lists only 9 (for 1994 prizes). The other nine prizewinners mostly coincide with Wikipedia (but the page says literature prize to Ron Hubbard, Wikipedia says Kenzaburo Oe). So who knows? It seems the mention of the 1994 Physics prize has been dropped from the official record.

Now I'm really off my nut. According to Wikipedia itself (page on Run Hubbard) [5], Ron won the 1994 IgNobel Literature Prize. But the Wiki IgNobel page for 1994 winners lists Kenzaburo Oe. But Oe won the REAL Nobel Literature Prize in 1994 [6]. Wikipedia is contradicting itself. Oy vey!

Recent vandalism. Fixed. Zarniwoot 00:42, 23 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OK. Reading the last para of the reference by Zarniwoot [7], it does say that "***and one prize in 1994*** was based on erroneous press reports, and is not listed". That must be the 1994 Physics (non)prize. And there were three prizes in 1991 for apocryphal achievements (also not listed). So that settles that --- but 1994 literature prize was to Ron Hubbard not Kenzaburo Oe. Did not proofread all the other awards for accuracy.

I have now added them as "Not officially listed". Zarniwoot 00:42, 23 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The 1991 physics prize seems to have been awarded to "Thomas Kyle", a fictitious person. See [8], [9] and Administratium. Maybe it was later left out because he was made up? Btw, Please sign your comments. It just makes it easyer for everyone ;). Zarniwoot 23:51, 22 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I took this text out:

Most winners--especially those who are being "honored" for things they should not have done--are embarrassed by the prizes, but the occasional winner for an obscure or amusing, but genuine, scientific result cheerfully accepts and even attends the award ceremony.

because it doesn't seem to be true. Perhaps it has been in the past, but if you look at the list of the 2003 winners, all of them were represented at the ceremony, and most of them by themselves. There would be nice to have something on the reaction to winning this prize, though, so if somebody can elaborate better on it, please do. -- Jao 09:16, 18 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It depends. I attended the 2001 Ig Ceremony and the Ig Lectures the day after. Mr Andrade, the Indian psychologist, who won the prize for his paper on nose picking, was almost wetting himself with laughter during his lecture; Mr Malinauskus used the opportunity to promote his holiday park; and the van Impes with their unusual idea about Hell didn't show up. Looking at the prizewinners from 1991 to today, since the Igs are known outside Harvard the focus has changed from mere pisstake to popularization of scientific and political issues -- see the Indian guy who was declared dead by corrupt officials in his country. -- Pilatus 23:48, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)


I added a mention of the three Ig Nobel Prizes awarded for fictitious discoveries. The third one is the following (copied from the Ig Nobel website - hopefully I am not guilty of copyright violation):

[Ig Nobel Prize for] PEDESTRIAN TECHNOLOGY (*) Paul DeFanti, wizard of structures and crusader for public safety, for his invention of the Buckybonnet, a geodesic fashion structure that pedestrians wear to protect their heads and preserve their composure.

Mike Rosoft

I rolled it back to return the examples of past Igs - they seem important to give people a sense of what's going on. - DavidWBrooks 14:11, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

did the guy who wrotte this knew anything at all?[edit]

The prize is named after scientist called Ignatius Nobel, thats where the name of the Ig Nobel Prize comes from, and NOT a fricking pun (as it says here):

"1,200 spectators jammed into M.I.T.'s Kresage Auditorium to witness the "Fourth First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony." The Ig Nobel Prizes, named for the "legendary Ignatius 'Ig' Nobel, co-inventor of soda-pop," are awarded to real people "whose achievements cannot or should not be reproduced." They are a joint production of the Annals of Improbably Research and the M.I.T. Museum."

who the hell wrotte this article?, i mean jesus, where the hell they even got that the Ig Nobel was named after that?. I demand a new look on it.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Boy, that's a really funny one. Thanks for sharing. - DavidWBrooks 00:10, 17 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
the article hasnt changed, it still doesnt say why are they called Ig Nobel.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Quote from the first paragraph: The name is a play on the words ignoble and "Nobel." - DavidWBrooks 03:03, 23 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Alright, show us the source for that.

Start date of the awards[edit]

Although the first public award ceremony was in 1991, the awards were first made in 1968 when the Annals of Improbable Research were still the Journal of Irreproducible results. See this page by Marc Abrahams:

Would someone like to update the page to reflect this?

Thanks, SP Sophisticated penguin 16:46, 10 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interesting! Marc Abrahams has never, that I've heard, mentioned this and it's not on later Web sites (that page is 13 years old). The JIR/AIR connection is, shall we say, complicated - so maybe a tad more probing is needed. - DavidWBrooks 20:53, 10 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

talk page layout[edit]

This talk page is a mess. Please reorg. Thanks. (talk) 09:11, 7 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It does seem ignobel, ignoble, to omit Marc_Abrahams on the primary page.[edit]

[[ hopiakuta Please do sign your signature on your message. ~~ Thank You. -]] 12:05, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indeed! Wikipedia is the encyclopedia anyone can edit, so you can add anything you feel belongs without having to wait for anyone to do it for you. DMacks (talk) 16:07, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Miss Sweety Poo[edit]

Knowing the sort of folks who are attracted to the Ig Nobels, this could be some sort of group joke ... but different anon editors keep hot-linking Miss Sweety Poo, and I keep un-hot-linking it. This has continued for a long time, each time done by an anon IP who does that single edit and never anything else; none comments or tries to return the link. She's obviously not worthy of a link/article, so perhaps it's just part of a bizarre initiation ceremony into the Cult of the Abrahamas or something ... - DavidWBrooks (talk) 22:20, 27 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah, it's a cult. Kill your lazy and create good article about Sweety Poo. -- (talk) 14:37, 29 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Kill your lazy" ... uh-oh, sounds like another Internet meme that I haven't heard of. And I only just caught up with "the cake is a lie"! - DavidWBrooks (talk) 19:17, 29 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gene Ray said "stupid and evil". He was right. Create any article "Sweety Poo". -- (talk) 08:22, 30 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Relevance of Swedish meaning of "IG"[edit]

In Swedish, IG is short for "icke godkänt", a grade in school similar to F, or fail.

This is true, but does it have anything to do with the naming of this prize? This sentence seems to imply that the prize was named with this in mind, but doesn't explicitly say so. It should either be clarified and sourced, or removed. /skagedal... 10:03, 3 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Certainly not relevant, as the grade did not exist in 1991 (back then, the scale was 1–5). Thanks for catching it, I'll remove it right away. -- Jao (talk) 13:02, 3 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In case anyone doubts the wisdom of the above sensible decision - the clear derivation is from "ignoble", the opposite of "noble" (punning on "Nobel") - I'm sure the Swedish thing is entirely coincidental (assuming it is genuine, and not yet another Joke!). --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:52, 15 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How are winners chosen?[edit]

Does anyone know anything about how ignobel winners are selected? Is there a nomination procedure and a committee choosing from the nominees, and if so, who and how are people nominated? If not, are winners directly chosen by a committee or what? —Preceding unsigned comment added by DBodor (talkcontribs) 18:12, 1 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's done by a Secret Cabal that operates deep within the bowels of the Annals of Improbable Research headquarters ... meaning that it's not a public process, and presumably revolves around whatever Marc Abrahams thinks is funny. -DavidWBrooks (talk) 18:20, 1 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What, if anything, does the winners get?[edit]

I looked at their website & here, but cannot find exactly what the prize consists of? A medal? Money? Both? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:36, 5 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's a different trinket each year, usually a deliberately goofy-looking cheap trophy. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 14:10, 5 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

April 1, 2010?[edit]

Does anyone out there think that this article could be expanded and raised to feature article status and considered for next year's April 1 featured article? IIRC, the last two April 1 articles were the Museum of Bad Art and Ima Hogg.

A thought.

Vulture19 (talk) 04:45, 13 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ig Nobel / Nobel double[edit]

Andre Geim has just completed the Ig Nobel / Nobel double. Is he the first? Adpete (talk) 11:26, 5 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Roy Glauber Missing 2005 Ig Nobel?[edit]

The Ig Nobel ceremony was held in October, and the "genuine" Nobel in December. How could Roy Glauber have missed the Ig Nobel ceremony because "he was traveling to Stockholm to claim a genuine Nobel Prize in Physics"?-- (talk) 05:33, 7 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not sure, but this kind of lame excuse for not attending an "Ig Nobel" ceremony is par for the course. Not to be taken seriously (remember the whole thing is an elaborate joke). Even people who for some reason don't want to participate often joke about their reasons for not doing so. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:46, 15 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Laugh, then think"[edit]

I linked this to satire not to imply anything about either the "achievments" or their receiving a prize being satire as such, but because "First making people laugh and then making them think" (or "thought provoking humour")is itself a very neat potted definition of satire!! This particlar link is not, of course of prime importance - more a "by the way" or "incidentally" - but it is NOT "original research" as much as common sense, and I think DID add something, albeit something fairly minor, to the point of the lead. I have in fact rewritten the lead (complete with link) to make the whole thing a little clearer. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:32, 15 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But it's still your opinion or analysis that that is a definition of satire at all, and that that is the speaker's intended meaning (since it's a direct quote). And I disagree that this is the intended meaning or general tenor of the Ig Nobels. Heck, the later part of the article says that much of it is not satire. DMacks (talk) 14:36, 16 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But the "laugh and then think" bit is plastered on almost everything the Ig Nobel people print. To deny that this is their EXPRESSED intent (as opposed how they carry out that intent) is surely pretty unassailable?? This 'expressed intent' (as opposed to any "intended meaning") is directly quoted. This EXPRESSED (and literally quoted) atatement of intent does happen to coincide with a neat definition of satire - the point being gently made by an innocent little linkie thing. I would have thought you might have been able to live with this.
The article in fact already admits that there is an occasional bit of "gentle" satire in some of the "Ig Nobel" activities. For what it is worth my opinion (which I studiously avoid thumping here) is that the Ig Nobels, in making us laugh about science and perhaps take it just a little less seriously - while occasionally taking a very powerful swing indeed at pernicious pseudo-science like creationism - do start to look an awful lot like classical satire. But neither your opinion nor mine is what matters here, is it? We'd agree there is satire there, even if we disagree about how much. If opinion (rightly) takes a back seat - one can always leave the facts to speak for themselves. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 16:19, 16 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Didn't realize this had been discussed before, but linking the slogan to satire should be avoided because wikilinks should be transparent and obvious - it should be clear what the link leads to, before you click on it. This link is not at all clear, and since it serves no real purpose, it should be avoided. That's not saying the Igs arent satire, merely that this particular link doesn't follow wikipedia usage. IMHO of course. Besides, the word parody (transparently wikilinked) is in the first sentence, so it's not like this article presents the Igs as something serious ... - DavidWBrooks (talk) 02:13, 16 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IG meaning[edit]

Please try to follow me here.... so 'IT' means information technology. 'DG' can mean either Dolche and Gabbana or dog. 'IG' therefore clearly means interesting giraffe, right? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Knowmoore (talkcontribs) 04:50, 11 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

А LOD значит лидер охотничьего домика, чи не так? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:31, 27 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Achievements or "Achievements" ???[edit]

The use of the word in this context is very much tongue-in-cheek. Most, if not quite all, of the so-called "achievements" mocked by the Ig Nobel prizes are considered (at least by the Ig Nobel people themselves) to be either brainlessly trivial and unnecessary, or else plain pernicious. Read the article if you don't believe me. Not quite what we usually mean by achievements (out of inverted commas).

I have reverted you again - but it is NOT a matter I consider worth shedding any blood over (or even wasting an arbitrator's time over) - if you insist we leave off the inverted commas in this case then let them go - but they are of course perfectly correct in this context - and DO make the point that the article is echoing the ironical satire of the prizes themselves. Incidentally - what exactly are "scare quotes"? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:23, 10 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OK, I've had a look at the article for "scare quotes" - at least I know what you're talking about now - but the use for ironical purposes (what this use boils down to) is surely perfectly applicable? Never mind, whatever you think. It is really NOT that big a deal as far as I am concerned. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:36, 10 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"I do not know where the garbled, and totally inaccurate, impression that I ever said that British people should not accept the Ig Nobel Prize came from.

What I did say, at the time, when I happened to be the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government and when the award of the Ig Nobel (which I must say I think is a brilliant idea and great fun) was rather thoughtlessly awarded to a Brit. I forget what the actual topic was, but it ended up sparking questions in the UK Parliament and general worries and attacks on science funding as itself sponsoring silly projects. It was a kind of re-run of earlier fusses there had been in the American Congress about “wasting money on foolish projects”.

My suggestion to the sponsors of the Ig Nobel at that time was that they might be a bit more sensitive in thinking about possible consequences of the award upon the general scientific community and its funding, in particular instances."

Robert M May, 23 April 2013 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rmay514 (talkcontribs) 16:09, 23 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Aim of the prizes[edit]

Editor Soundofmusicals asked me to explain the edit I made two days ago. It was about the stated aim of the prizes. The second sentence of this article was: The stated aim of the prizes is to "first make people laugh, and then make them think." However, the very first line of the Ig Nobel web site says: "The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think." Accordingly, I change the second sentence in this article to: The stated aim of the prizes is to "honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think."

I think there is an obious difference between a prize which makes people laugh and then think, and an achievement which accomplishes this. A side effect of the prizes may be that they also make people laugh (and think), but that is not the stated aim of the prizes. Best regards, Bever (talk) 22:57, 15 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ok, I'll pass that one! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 02:17, 16 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A "range" in a mathematical series or an alphabetic index has, as a recent editor quite rightly points out, is defined by the values between a low and high value. However, we often use the term "range" rather more loosely in other contexts, say "the curriculum at x. school ranges from cookery to calculus". Language is not (thankfully) always coldly logical. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 09:27, 3 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Acronym (AIR)[edit]

I noticed your reversion of my edit to this page, and hope that you reconsider. Although not prohibited by the Manual of Style, one of my pet peeves is the use of such jargon abbreviations when they are not needed and unfamiliar to a general audience. AIR might be used extensively by those who are specialists, or knowledgeable or familiar the Ig Nobel Prize, but Wikipedia is supposed to be for everybody, not a specialized group. In this particular instance, it serves no purpose, such as to replace terminology that is repeated frequently throughout the article. It's also unclear whether it's an abbreviation, an acronym, or an initialism - should it be said as the word "air" or as the initials "a.i.r."? - so it doesn't add anything to the article. I have a science background but if I were writing about something published in a journal, I would never write, for example "the Annals of Internal Medicine (AIM)" just because an abbreviation can be or is used by insiders. If the article were written for a book or newspaper, the editor would delete the term. Ira Leviton (talk) 19:56, 15 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

AIR (aka Annals of Improbable Research) is a parody of scientific societies and their journals. The use of a catchy acronym is meant to be a humorous take-off of the widespread use of such things by more serious scientific (and other) organizations. Since "they" use the acronym (it is part of the joke) it is absolutely appropriate for an article about them to use it too. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:04, 15 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are right that use of acronyms can be off-putting and unnecessary, but this was a single usage supported by meaning - the article doesn't go on and use it as a stand-alone term - so I think it's fine. The annals uses AIR to refer to itself and as a frequent joke - e.g., AIRheads - adding to the reason to include it once. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 23:47, 15 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]