Stockholm may be the home of the genuine Nobel Prizes, but Cambridge, Mass., has its own answer to the creme de la creme of the scientific world. Every fall since 1991, the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony has blown a figurative raspberry at those members of the profession who take themselves too seriously. Produced by Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), a publication occasionally described as the MAD magazine of science, the event marks achievements that, in the words of Marc Abrahams --editor of AIR and Ig Nobel master of ceremonies for life--"cannot or should not be reproduced."

This year's version of the three-hour feast of scientific fantasy and follies took place in a Harvard University hall festooned with paper airplanes, duct tape, and a 21-piece college band. Four authentic Nobel laureates and 1,200 spectators hooted, hissed, and cheered the 10 Ig Nobel laureates--some of whom attended the event.


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