Nobel Medal

Stanford University Nobel Day

Nobel in the Past, Present, and Future

Michael Sohlman, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation
Prof. Svante Lindqvist, Director of the Nobel Museum, Stockholm
Prof. Arvid Carlsson, 2000 Nobel Laureate in Medicine
Prof. Paul Berg, 1980 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Dr. Geir Lundestad, Director of the Oslo Nobel Institute

(Sponsored by Stanford's Office of the President)

Peter Wallenberg Learning Theater,
Building 160, Stanford University

Monday, Sept. 19, 2005, 10 am-Noon

Edited by Peter Y. Chou

Preface: After listening to some 40 speakers at the Accelerating Change Conference 2005 for the last three days, I felt that my brain needed some rest, especially with only four hours of sleep each night. However, after reading the article "What's the future of the Nobel Prize?" in the Stanford Report (Sept. 14, 2005 issue), I roused myself up this morning to attend the special forum "Stanford Nobel Day". With the exception of enlightened sages, my meetings and correspondences with many Nobel laureates have been inspirational during my research years on protein structures. Today's program featured two Nobel laureates— Paul Berg (Chemistry 1980) and Arvid Carlsson (Medicine 2000) along with three Directors from the Nobel Museum (Svante Lindqvist), Nobel Institute (Geir Lundestad) and Nobel Foundation (Michael Sohlman). I didn't have time to register for this free event, and decided to go anyway. I missed the Express Bus #522 on El Camino at 9:30 am, and the next bus didn't come until 20 minutes later. By the time I got to Stanford, it was 10:15 am. Luckily, Wallenberg Hall is right in front of the Quad, so I didn't have to run across the campus after getting off the Stanford C-Line Bus at the Oval. The small room was packed, and I was told to go to the adjacent room at the left. One chair was empty which gave me a close view of the speaker through the partially opened wall-partition. As there was no program, I didn't know who was the speaker until all five speakers finished their talks. From the Stanford Report article, and the four later speakers, I deduced that the first speaker was Michael Sohlman. Here are my notes for this forum:

Michael Sohlman,
Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation

Alfred Nobel was interested in both science and literature.
There is a crucial phrase in the last will of Nobel
        “no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates,
          but that the most worthy shall receive the prize”

The Nobel Prize today has a different function. The web reports everything about Nobel laureates.
The Nobel Prize acts a benchmark for excellence. Because of more advances in research here,
the United States had more Nobel laureates than all the countries in the European Union.
Japan has a lofty goal: To win 13 Nobel Prizes in the next 50 years.
In China, Shanghai is ranking universities by their number of Nobel laureates.
I don't know whether that's a good indication of education, but it's nice to see.
In 1901 the Nobel Prize award was equivalent of the annual salary of 15 professors.
Each year, we send out 3000-4000 invitations to universities to nominate Nobel laureates.
Alfred Nobel decided that the award should go to a combination of disciplines—
the sciences: physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and the quest for peace.
At the beginning, the literature laureates were mostly local (Scandanavian),
but now it has broadened to include writers all over the globe.
At the start in 1901, Sweden and Norway were poor countries,
and the onus of burden in selecting Nobel laureates was daunting.
The attention devoted to Nobel laureates is amazing— Before & After
Once, the Mayor of Paris received a letter from Stockholm saying that
there was no fund to award the Physics Nobel Prize, and needed help.
The Nobel Prize is an education outreach through the Nobel Museum.
Our exhibits have inspiring stories of Nobel laureates for students.
(Talk ended at 10:35 am)

Prof. Svante Lindqvist,
Director of the Nobel Museum, Stockholm

Prof. Lindqvist was a postdoc at UC Berkeley, 1986-1987.
He was a Visiting Professor at Univ. of Pennsylvania and MIT

PowerPoint Presentation of 38 slides:
1) ?
2) Photo of Alfred Nobel
3) Alfred Nobel's Will of 1895
  “ It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration
    be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most
    worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.”
4) Map of Nobel laureates (more from U.S. after World War II)
5) What is creativity & how can it best be promoted?
6) What is most important in the creative process of one individual?
7) Individual creativity— Breakaway from tradition
    & courage to challenge teacher (disrepect)
8) Photo of Pierre & Marie Curie (1903 Physics Laureates)
9) Photo of Linus Pauling (1962 Peace Laureate) carrying a poster sign:
    Mr. Kennedy, Mr. MacMillan, No Test
10) Photo of Barbara McClintock (1983 Medicine Laureate)
11) Photo of two corn maize
12) Photo of Martin Luther King Jr. (1964 Peace Laureate)
    (with photo of Gandhi on his wall)
13) Photo of Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights speech & crowd
14) Photo of Nobel laureate biking (Martin ?)
15) Photo of the Dalai Lama (1989 Peace Laureate)
16) Photo of Dalai Lama's eyeglasses
17) Photo of Richard Feynman juggling (1950)
18) Photo of Richard Feynman (1965 Physics Laureate)
19) Photo of Cornell University dinner plate (idea for spin)
20) Photo of Wilhelm Roentgen (1901 Physics Laureate)
21) Photo of Sir Alexander Fleming (1945 Medicine Laureate)
22) Photo of Andrei Sakharov (1975 Peace Laureate)
23) Quote from Louis Pasteur (1854): “Chance favors the prepared mind.“
24) Photo of Ernest Hemingway (1901 Literature Laureate)
25) Photo of Charles Townes (1964 Physics Laureate) sitting on a park bench.
26) Several well-known scientists went to the Gymnasium School in Budapest
27) Two Nobel laureates had the same high school teacher in Brazil
28) Two Nobel laureates went to the same high school in Kyoto
29) ?
30) Five Nobel laureates went to the Bronx High School of Science in NYC
31) Aspects of Individuals: Courage, etc.
32) Creative milieus
33) 80% of British Nobel Laureates are associated with the University of Cambridge
34) Photo of Max Delbrück (1969 Medicine Laureate) & James D. Watson
    (1962 Medicine Laureate) fishing at Cold Spring Harbor
35) ?
36) Photo of Japanese laureates
37) Characteristics of creative milieu:
      • Concentration of "high density" of individuals
      • Diversity of competence
      • Communication
      • Networks
      • Individual meeting places
      • Resources
      • Freedom
      • Competitiveness (i.e., pressure)
38) Latin phrase Sub pondere crescit palma
      A HREF=>"Palm tree grows under pressure."
      This bodes well for Stanford as the road
      that leads to Stanford is named Palm Drive.
      (talk ended around 10:50 am)

Prof. Arvid Carlsson,
Professor of Pharmacology, Emeritus,
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
2000 Nobel Laureate in Medicine

Prof. Carlsson received his Ph.D.

Prof. Paul Berg,
The Robert W. & Vivian K. Cahill Professor
of Cancer Research, Emeritus, Stanford University
1980 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

"Nobel in the Past, Present, and Future"

I have six decades of research behind me.

Dr. Geir Lundestad,
Director of the Oslo Nobel Institute


Books on the Nobel Prize (with reviews):

John Bankston,
Alfred Nobel and the Story of the Nobel Prize
Mitchell Lane Publishers (June, 2003)

Burton Feldman,
The Nobel Prize : A History of Genius, Controversy and Prestige
Arcade Publishing (October 3, 2001)
Robert Marc Friedman,
Politics of Excellence: Behind the Nobel Prize in Science
Henry Holt & Company (October, 2001)

Istvan Hargittai,
The Road to Stockholm: Nobel Prizes, Science, and Scientists
Oxford University Press (May, 2002)

Lillian Hoddeson & Vicki Daitch,
True Genius: The Life And Science Of John Bardeen,
The only Winner of Two Nobel Prizes in Physics

Joseph Henry Press (May, 2005)

Agneta Wallin Levinovitz & Nils Ringertz (Editors),
The Nobel Prize: The First 100 Years
World Scientific Publishing Company; 1st edition (August 15, 2001)

Sharon Bertsch McGrayne,
Nobel Prize Women in Science
National Academies Press; 2nd edition (February, 2001)

Sylvia Nasar,
A BEAUTIFUL MIND: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr.,
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 1994

Simon & Schuster (May 5, 1999)

Max F. Perutz,
I Wish I'd Made You Angry Earlier:
Essays on Science, Scientists, and Humanity

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; Expanded edition (December, 2002)

Nobel Foundation; Swedish Academy,
Nobel Prize Library
Alexis Gregory; CRM Publishing (1971)

Baruch A. Shalev,
100 Years of Nobel Prizes
Americas Group; 1st edition (September 9, 2002)

Louise S. Sherby,
The Who's Who of Nobel Prize Winners 1901-2000
Oryx Press; 4th edition (December 30, 2001)

Bettina Stiekel (Editor), Jimmy Carter (Introduction),
The Nobel Book of Answers: The Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, Shimon Peres, and Other
Nobel Prize Winners Answer Some of Life's Most Intriguing Questions for Young People

Atheneum; 1st Us edition (October 1, 2003)

Web Sites on the Nobel Prize:

The Nobel Prize: 100 Years of Creativity
The Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize Internet Archive
Norwegian Nobel Institute
Wikipedia: Nobel Prize
William Faulkner's Nobel Prize Speech
Shamanism and Rock Art in Minnesota
Shaman: Journal of the International Society for Shamanistic Research

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: peter(at) (9-19-2005)