Press at the Ig: Glimpses of the Russian TV coverage

September 16th, 2014

Every year, at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, Sanders Theatre is jammed not only with Ig Nobel winners, Nobel winners, opera singers, and 1100 audience members, but also with journalists who come from afar to document the doings.

Channel One Russia is among the many international TV networks sending crews to this year’s Ig Nobel Prize ceremony on Thursday, September 18. Here are three of Channel One Russia’s reports about previous Ig Nobel ceremonies:




Further past investigations of spaghetti

September 16th, 2014

Investigating how and why a strand of uncooked spaghetti breaks after bending — well that’s a complicated undertaking, with a rich history. One man’s take appears in this writeup:

The dynamics of linear spaghetti structures — how one thing just leads to another,” RWD Nickalls, 14 June, 2006. The author is at the Department of Anaesthesia, Nottingham University Hospitals, City Hospital Campus, Nottingham, UK.

The 2006 Ig Nobel Prize in physics centered on this very topic. The prize was awarded to Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, in Paris, for their insights into why, when you bend dry spaghetti, it often breaks into more than two pieces. [REFERENCE: "Fragmentation of Rods by Cascading Cracks: Why Spaghetti Does Not Break in Half," Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch, Physical Review Letters, vol. 95, no. 9, August 26, 2005, pp. 95505-1 to 95505-1.]

This year’s 24/7 Lecturers

September 16th, 2014

Here’s the lineup of 24/7 Lecturers at this year’s Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. You’ll see them Thursday evening, September 18, if you come to the ceremony at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, or if you watch the live webcast.

What, you ask, are the 24/7 Lectures?

This:  several of the world’s top thinkers each explains her or his subject twice:
FIRST : a complete technical description in TWENTY-FOUR (24) SECONDS**
AND THEN: a clear summary that anyone can understand, in SEVEN (7) WORDS

This year’s 24/7 Lecturers:

  • Martin Chalfie (Nobel laureate, chemistry): BIOLUMINESCENCE
  • Carol Greider (Nobel laureate, physiology or medicine). Topic: TELOMERES
  • Eric Maskin (Nobel laureate, economics): INCOME INEQUALITY
  • Rob Rhinehart (founder, Soylent). Topic: METABOLISM
  • Corky White (Professor of Anthropology, Boston University). Topic: FOOD

The history of the 24/7 Lectures is full of surprising people and ideas you may know, and others you might like to get to know.

** Time limits will be enforced by the the referee, Mr. John Barrett

Here’s video of three 24/7 Lecture from the past — Eric Lander (GENOME), Dany Adams (BIOLOGY), and Benoit Mandelbrot (FRACTALS):

Another exciting insight: Medical effects of drinking coffee

September 16th, 2014

Yet another new insight about the physiological effects of drinking coffee:

Coffee for morning hunger pangs: an examination of coffee and caffeine on appetite, gastric emptying, and energy intake,” Matthew M. Schubert, Gary Grant, Katy Horner, Neil King, Michael Leveritt, Surendran Sabapathy, Ben Desbrow, Appetite, epub September 16, 2014. The authors, at various institutions in Australia and the US, report:

“The objective of this study was to examine the impact of coffee consumption (with and without caffeine) on appetite sensations, energy intake, gastric emptying, and plasma glucose between breakfast and lunch meals…. Utilising an ecologically valid design, no significant effects of decaffeinated coffee, caffeine or their combination were detected on gastric emptying, appetite sensations, glucose, and energy intake.”


BONUS: An interview with two of the authors, done a year ago: “How is your research going and what have been your findings so far?”

World’s most inventive inventor (and possibly greatest human) is coming to the Ig

September 15th, 2014

Japan’s most famous — and most colorful — inventor/politician/author is coming to Boston this week, returning to the scene of his highest official honor.

He boasts more than 3300 patents, and dozens of books. He has repeatedly run for high political office, easily attracting more press coverage than most of his competitors. He is better known in Japan than any American inventor is in America. He is widely believed to be among the wealthiest persons in Japan. His manner is always masterly, commanding, and deadpan hilarious. He is, I think, the nearest humanity will ever see to a real-life Wizard of Oz.

He is Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu, aka Dr. NakaMats.

Dr. NakaMats came to Harvard in 2005, where he was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for nutrition, for having photographed every meal he had eaten during the previous 34 years (and counting).

So begins another Improbable Innovation nugget, which appears in its entirety on BetaBoston.

You can see Dr. Nakamats this Thursday, September 18 — in person or on the webcast — when he gives the keynote address at this year’s Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.