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You can’t have too much Ig Nobel news, so let’s have some more. In response to an earlier post of mine lamenting the shortage of New Hampshire winners of Ig Nobel prizes, a lament that showed up on NHPR, I recieved an email from Dr. Thomas Michel, a professor of medicine and biochemistry at Harvard Medical School. He and his wife, Sara Lewis, a professor of biology at Tufts University, have a weekend home in Holderness on Squam Lake, which makes them sort-of New Hampshire people. And while they haven’t won Ig Nobels, they have been part of the ceremony:

 My wife recently spent her sabbatical year in Holderness writing a book on fireflies “Silent Sparks: the wondrous world of fireflies” (to be published next Spring by Princeton University Press). … She gave a 24/7 talk on “Firefly Sex” at this year’s Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, which she also prepared while in New Hampshire.

And I am the founder of the Boston Squeezebox Ensemble, which is the official accordion octet of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, and for many years I am also the opera accordionist (whom you saw on stage behind the podium).
That’s not a bad Granite State connection, I think. Although we still need more winners.
A little explanation for those who are Ig Nobel ignorant:

The 24/7 lectures are delivered during the awards ceremonies by various scientists (plus some non-scientists, including writer Neil Gaiman and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman), who must ” deliver a complete, technical description” of their work in 24 seconds and then give “a clear summary that anyone can understand in 7 words.” They can be quite funny: You can scroll through some past ones right here.

The musical reference involves a short comic opera that goes on every year, interspersed among the ceremony. Despite the deliverately amateurish and slapdash (and, I think, totally unpaid) aspect of the awards, it includes real trained operatic singers and many fine musicians – but remember, this is Cambridge, Mass., we’re talking about, where hyper-accomplished people litter the sidewalk.


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