William Liscomb reacts after breaking a piece of spaghetti in Cambridge.
William Liscomb, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, reacts after breaking a piece of spaghetti at the 2006 Ig Nobel Awards ceremony at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 5, 2006. The Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded each year for real scientific achievements that make people laugh and then think. Reuters

Expect silliness and laughter from scientists Thursday night in the hallowed halls of Harvard University as ten scientists will be awarded the coveted Ig Nobel Prize, a send up of the more serious Nobel Prizes that will be handed out next week.

The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative - and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology, according to the prize Web site, Improbable Research, an organization with the tag line Research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.

The Ig Nobels began in 1991 and celebrate the sometimes odd head scratching research that scientists pursue.

Last year's winners include Simon Rietveld of the University of Amsterdam and Ilja van Beest of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, who won the Medicine Prize after they discovered that asthma symptoms can be treated with a roller-coaster ride.

This year's ceremony is expected to include music, a mini-opera, performances and lectures.

There will also be a tribute to late William Lipscomb, who is remembered for being one of the funniest Ig Nobel performers. He performed in a dance at the 1994 called The Interpretive Dance of the Electrons.

Prizes will be awarded by actual Nobel-winning scientists, including Dudley Herschbach, who received the 1986 award for chemistry, and Eric Maskin, who shared the award for economics in 2007.

The ceremony will be available for viewing via webcast at starting at 7:30 EST here.