Tune in tonight (Sept. 17) at 6:00 p.m. ET to catch a science awards ceremony like no other. The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prizes celebrates offbeat scientific research “that makes people laugh, then think,” according to the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), the magazine that organizes the annual event.
Now in its 30th year, the Ig Nobels ceremony is always officially described as the “First Annual” because “every year is a new beginning,” master of ceremonies and AIR editor Marc Abrahams told Live Science in 2016.
Prior winners of Ig Nobel Prizes explored probing questions such as: Why do old men have big ears? Can you unboil a hard-boiled egg? And the eternal conundrum: Are cats a solid or a liquid?
Since 1991, the ceremony has unfolded in front of a packed house at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Nobel laureates typically hand the winners their trophies. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 ceremony has been prerecorded, but it will still offer the debut of a science-themed opera — a long-standing Ig Nobel tradition, performed by opera singers and scientists from the Boston area — as well as plenty of surprises, Abrahams told Live Science.
“Every part of the elaborate ceremony has been re-engineered, because of the pandemic,” AIR representatives said in a statement. “The organizers even invented a new way for a Nobel laureate on one continent to physically hand an Ig Nobel Prize to a new Ig Nobel Prize winner on a different continent.”
How is that even possible, you might ask? You’ll have to watch the Ig Nobels to find out.
The ceremony will be streamed live here on Live Science as well as on YouTube and AIR’s Facebook page. Versions of the ceremony with translations or captions in Japanese, Chinese and Spanish, will premiere at the same time as the U.S. version and will be accessible from the AIR website.