The annual Ig Nobel Prizes, held to honor practitioners of unconventional scientific research, also spotlighted another kind of unusual star this past Thursday in Sanders Theater. Besides featuring a group of scientists who discovered a method to create a diamond out of tequila, the honor of cutest participant in the ceremony undoubtedly goes to eight-year-old Isabel Kadel-Garcia, known for the evening as "Miss Sweetie Poo."
Winners of Ig Nobel prizes are allowed a one-minute acceptance speech. Every year, if and when they go over the limit, Miss Sweetie Poo walks up to them and whines, "Please stop. I’m bored." According to Isabel’s mother, Rachel Kadel-Garcia ’98, "it takes a few repetitions before she is successfully dismissed." Two to three girls from the Boston area audition each year for the coveted role.
"Miss Sweetie Poo is always great," said event organizer Marc Abrahams, "but Isabel is really something." Isabel has appeared in ballet performances and a television commercial, although she enjoyed the role of Miss Sweetie Poo the most.
In the commercial, "I was told to do this, and do that, and do this, and I got a bit cranky," she admits. She was allowed more freedom at the Ig Nobel ceremony. "I really did like it when Marc said, ‘Isabel, you’ve done enough now,’ even though he knew that I wasn’t going to stop," she says.
Every year, recipients of the Prizes shower Miss Sweetie Poo with gifts in attempt to get more air-time. This year’s included milk, a stuffed cow, a sombrero and a bottle of tequila. "It was bad milk," Isabel observed. "I liked the sombrero, but they wouldn’t let me keep it. I don’t know what they did with the wine. They wouldn’t let me take it home for Mommy and Daddy to drink."
If only we could bring Miss Sweetie Poo to lecture with us.