Official List of Ignitaries, 2009

Please enjoy this not-yet-complete list of 2009 Ig Nobel ignitaries, literati, glitterati, pseudo-intellectuals, quasi-pseudo-intellectuals, cogno-intellectuals and assorted others who in some way assisted in bringing the Ceremony into reality. While some of the below-listed individuals have provided brief biographical blurbs for your interest and perusal, we at Annals of Improbable Research make no claims whatsoever, expressed or implied, about their authenticity, accuracy, reliability, completeness, accuracy, timeliness, or redundancy. Or accuracy.

Marc Abrahams (Producer/Director, Master of Ceremonies) founded the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. He also edits the magazine Annals of Improbable Research and its TV series, and writes newspaper columns.

Robin Abrahams (Lurking Presence, Slide Show Maestro) writes the popular "Miss Conduct" social advice column for the Boston Globe Sunday magazine and blogs at She is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind Over Manners.

Dany Adams (Diplomat) is Associate Research Professor at the Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology. She gave one of the first 24/7 Lectures, which culminated in a seven-word definition of 'biology': "If it can get infected, it's biology."

Richard Baguley (Photographer) is a Vice President of Editorial Development at, where he develops new ways to torture gadgets such as digital cameras, televisions, and many more.

John Barrett (Referee) is a retired educator who stays active as a baseball umpire and soccer referee for high school and private leagues in Eastern Massachusetts.

Anjali Bhatt (HRSPS co-coordinator) is co-president of the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students.

Lisa Birk (Project Consultant) is a major organizing force deployed against chaos for both the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony and the Annals of Improbable Research. Formerly, the Project Manager of the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University and at Roundtable Media, she is at work on a short story collection, Because Help Can't Wait.

Tabitha Bohmbach (Prize Conveyer) is a former Miss Sweetie Poo.

Joost Bonsen (Performing Chemist) is a man about town, especially the MIT-related portions of town.

John Bradley (Photographer) is an environmental engineer, an attorney, a daredevil skier, and a storied observer of curious characters.

Dr. Jim Bredt (Human Spotlight ) was a co-founder of Z Corporation and co-inventor of full-color 3D Printing. He taught freshman chemistry at MIT and drew a cartoon textbook on thermodynamics. He currently works as a materials scientist for 1366 Technologies, a solar startup in Lexington.

Greg Brockman (Webcast/Broadcast Engineer) is an undergraduate at Harvard College and Director of Systems for the Harvard Computer Society. He specializes in designing, implementing, maintaining, and occasionally breaking services that are utilized by the entire Harvard community.

Jeff Bryant (House Sound) works as a project technician at the Francis Bitter Magnet Lab at M.I.T. On the side Bryant mixes for bands, has recorded and produced several rock and acoustic CDs, plays guitar and bass, and is an avid gardener and cook. He has run house sound for the Igs since 1995.

Nicholas Carstoiu (Penny-Wise Guys — Bandleader, Singer, and Keyboardist) composes music conceived in free improvisation. Past mentors include composers Earle Hagen (film) and Ran Blake (piano). Credits include "Peak Impressions", an album of psychedelic rock music now housed in the Smithsonian Folkways collection.

Mahati Chintapalli (Human Spotlight) is making in her debut at the Igs. She studies Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and particularly enjoys shiny, reflective materials.

John Clark (Penny-Wise Guys — acoustic bassist)

Emily Coombs (Human Curtain Rod) is a chemist. She gave birth to a Miss Sweetie Poo.

Frank "Barefoot" Cunningham (Sound Recording)

Brian Donnelly (Meatball Royalty) is the King of Swedish Meatballs. In his spare time he also plays the saxophone and didjeridoo while performing tales about a trickster named Munkybunny. Visit to see how his children's book is coming along.

Gary Dryfoos (Majordomo) Gary Dryfoos (Majordomo) is a scholar, a gentleman, and a majordomo. His majordomic qualifications include intensive specialized training, and owning his own tuxedo. This is his 18th Ig.

Stanley Eigen (Lurking Presence) has been with the Igs since the beginning. In addition to serving as Commutative Editor for the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, he is a math professor at Northeastern University (and yes, his name really is Eigen). This is his 19th Ig.

Alexei Eliseev (Photographer)

Anna Eliseeva (Minordomo)

Julia Eliseeva (Official Sweeper)

Maria Eliseeva (Provisionary Logistical Functionary)

Dave Feldman (Master Technician emeritus)

Maria Ferrante (Opera Soloist) enjoys an active career as recording artist, recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician, in the United States and abroad. This is her second year at the Igs.

Zachary Fisher (Minordomo) is an MIT undergraduate.

Rose Fox (Onstage Lurking Presence, Human Aerodrome) is a professional wordsmith who serves as AIR's Dissociative Editor. This is her fourth year making the arduous trek from New York to Boston to participate in the Igs.

Isabel Kadel Garcia (Miss Sweetie Poo)

Roberta Gilbert (Opera Waitress)

Roy Glauber (Official Sweeper) is Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University. In 2005 He was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics. For ten years prior to that he swept paper airplanes from the stage at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.

Jean Berko Gleason (Welcome Welcome Speaker, Goodbye Goodbye Speaker) is professor emerita of psychology at Boston University. She is the inventor of the Wug Test.

Kenny Gottlieb (HRSPS co-coordinator) is co-president of the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students.

Branden Grimmett (Opera Pianist) is a Boston-based accompanist and vocal coach. This is his second Ig.

Tom Halter (Penny-Wise Guys — trumpet and cornet)

Hunter Heinlen (Lighting & Technology)

David Holzman (Photographer) has had multiple shows of classic car photos, and sells photo art at His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Smithsonian, JNCI & elsewhere. He has a remarkable speaking voice.

Karen Hopkin (Parade and Opera Announcer), biochemist-turned-science writer, announces the opera and the Win-a-Date contest. At the 2004 Ig, Hopkin led the musical tribute to Daisuke Inoue, the inventor of Karaoke. She is co-author of the textbook Essential Cell Biology. In her spare time, Hopkin bakes pies and collects the signatures of Nobel Laureates on a 1950s-style autograph dog. This is her 19th Ig.

John Jenkins (Ig Informal Lectures (Saturday) Coordinator) is manager of the MIT Press Bookstore.

Susan Kany (Diplomat) has, for more than 20 years, been perfecting her diplomatic skills within Harvard's administration.

David Kessler (Co-Producer and Stage Manager) is knowledgable about theater, logistics, Scottish history, and whisky.

Doug Krabbenhoft (Provisionary Logistician): attorney, south suburban Boston, undergraduate Johns Hopkins, involved with the Igs for four years (avidly followed for ten), responsible for reception for Ignitaries and guests.

Joshua Kroll (Assistant Stage Manager) is a first-year graduate student in computer science at Princeton University. He became involved in the Ig during his dear old college days and nights at Harvard.

Julia Lunetta (Minordomo, Improbable Webmaster) is an 11-year veteran minordomo. In addition to being a professional geek, she is also an amateur actress, musician, comedian, and human.

Karolina Lewestam (Simultaneous translator) is a graduate student in philosophy at Boston University.

James Mahoney (Minordomo) is a classic raconteur, a classical scholar, a philosopher-accountant, and a former journalist and taxi driver. He fathered a Miss Sweetie Poo.

Lois Malone (Artwork & Logos) drew "The Stinker", the logo of the Annals of Improbable Research and of the Ig Nobel ceremony. Formerly at MIT, she now paints, sculpts, and designs houses in the mountains of New Mexico.

Prominent New York Attorney William J. Maloney (V-Chip Monitor) will also be appearing as Himself.

Benoit Mandelbrot (Keynote Speaker) is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Sciences Mathematics Department at Yale University, and IBM Fellow Emeritus at IBM's  T.J. Watson Research Center. He invented the mathematical concept of fractals.

Katherine Meusey (Green Room Deity) is Circulation Director for the magazine Annals of Improbable Research. This is her first year at the Igs.

Dr. Thomas Michel (Founder and maestro, Boston Squeezebox Ensemble) plays accordian and is Co-Director of the Leder Program in Human Biology and Translational Professor of Medicine (Biochemistry) and Federman Chair in Medical Education at Harvard Medical School.

Kees Moeliker (Returning Ig winner, Photographer, Simultaneous Translator) is curator of the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam. He is also Improbable Research's European bureau chief.

Randall Munroe (Minordomo) creates XKCD, a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

Bruce Petschek (Videographer) is a freelance videographer. His production company, Seven Generations Video, has been videotaping the Igs for as long as anyone can remember and he is the chief editor of the Ig Nobel collection series on YouTube. His three children have all grown up working on the Ig Nobel video production crew since they were 6 years old and despite this formative experience they have all grown into fairly well-adjusted adults.

Julian Petschek (Videographer)

Jay Po (Videographer) is a high school junior at Belmont Hill School, where he is head of the Media Production Group. This is his first year with the Igs.

Genevieve Reynolds (Major Minordomo) is in her tenth year marshaling Ig winners and Laureates. In her spare time, Ms. Reynolds enjoys watching sheep herding trials.

Michael Ricca (Penny-Wise Guys — Singer. Also: Simultaneous Translator, Press Wrangler) is a cabaret singer and bureaucrat, performing in parallel universes.

Daniel Rosenberg (Performing Chemist) prepares and performs demonstrations for all the chemistry classes and many of the physics classes in the Harvard Science Center, and is a teaching fellow for many Harvard chemistry classes. He fathered two Miss Sweetie Poos and a Human Spotlight.

Isabelle Rosenberg (Lurking Presence) is a former Human Spotlight and Human Curtain Rod. She has given birth to two Miss Sweetie Poos and a Human Spotlight.

Katrina Rosenberg (Human Spotlight) is a student at Arlington High School.

Sylvia Rosenberg (Official Sweeper) is a former Miss Sweetie Poo.

Neara Russell (Penny-Wise Guys — Singer and keyboardist) Unique. Sassy. Clever. Thoughtful. Smarty-Pants. Intelligent. Eccentric. Normal. Determined. Stubborn. Kind. Cool (this is controversial — citation needed). Talented. Lovable. Wisconsinable. Cheesy. Glittery. Sparkly. Powerful. Rock And Roll. Innovative. Artist.

Louise Reilly Sacco (Grand Panjandrum of the Delegations) is the Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director of the Museum of Bad Art. She is also a fan photographer at Fenway Park and cohost of the Frugal Yankee Radio Hour.

Rob Sanders (Lighting & Technology) is still amazed that the simple statement "I love the Igs," has somehow ensured him perpetual employment, albeit for only 2 days a year. This is his 14th Ig.

Don Schechter (Videographer)

Benjamin Sears (Opera Soloist) performs in concert and cabaret with pianist Bradford Conner and together they have ten CD releases of "The Great American Songbook." Sears is working on a book on Irving Berlin. This is his fourth appearance at the Igs.

Alice Shirrell Kaswell (Writer) is a staff writer for the Annals of Improbable Research. This is her 19th Ig.

Miles Smith (Sound Recording) is a freelance audio engineer based in the Boston area, is currently on staff at WGBH Radio, is chief engineer for the Spanish Beisbol Network, works with "This American Life", and has had a hand in three Grammy-nominated albums. Most important, he has been involved in many, many Igs.

Quentin Smith (Webcast/Broadcast Engineer) has been playing with wires down the street at MIT for the past 3 years. His latest project is to build a digital waterfall. In his spare time, he works on cool video projects with MIT Student Cable.

Naomi Stephen (Press wrangler)

David Stockton (Opera Conductor and Bartender)

Ian Storey (HRSFA coordinator) is Coordinating/Corresponding (Exfernal) Secretary of the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association. He is his own man, distinct from both the operatic tenor Ian Storey and the military strategic studies researcher Ian Storey.

Dan Styklunas (Penny-Wise Guys — drummer)

Danielle Streifthau (Minordomo) is an undergraduate at Harvard in biomedical engineering. This is her first Ig Nobel ceremony.

Geri Sullivan (Artwork & Logos, IgBill Design and Layout, Slide Show Maestro) is a graphic designer at her own firm, PROmote Communications, and is the design and layout director of the Annals of Improbable Research.

Peaco Todd (Minordomo) works as a political columnist/cartoonist and professor. Her work can be found at and

Peter van Lindonk (Ringmaster) is a publisher, circus ringmaster, and creative thinker, he founded the PINC Conference about the power of Passion, Inspiration and Creativity, held annually in Zeist, The Netherlands.

Amity Wilczek (Press Wrangler) is a postdoc at Brown University, researching how geographic variation in selection pressures shapes life history responses of Arabidopsis thaliana.

Corky White (Simultaneous Translator) is a food anthropologist, based at Boston University. She presently is engaged in research on urban social spaces and social change in Japan, particularly on the history of the cafe.

Debra Wise (Human Curtain Rod) is artistic director of the Underground Railway Theater, based at the Central Square Theater.

Eric Workman (Prize, Props and Scenery Creation, Performing Props Master) creates unusual things at Boston's Museum of Science. He has been designing and building Ig Nobel Prizes for well over a decade.

Christine Zindy (Meatball Royalty) is the Queen of Swedish Meatballs. She speaks many languages.