February 2, 2001
This year, the Nobel Prize celebrates its 100th anniversary. In 1901, the first Prize Award Ceremony was held at what today is called the Old Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. In Christiania (now Oslo), the names of the Nobel Laureates were announced in the Storting (Norwegian Parliament). To commemorate the centennial of these first Nobel Prizes, all now-living Laureates have been invited to participate in a Centennial Week in December. Beginning with lectures at various universities around Sweden and Norway, the week will culminate with the Nobel festivities on December 10 in Stockholm and Oslo. At this writing, some 225 Laureates have accepted the invitation, including more than 30 winners of the Peace Prize.
The official international name of the anniversary year is the "Nobel Prize Centennial 1901-2001." In less official contexts, it is called the "Nobel Centennial." A special Centennial logo has also been designed.
On April 1, the Centennial Exhibition "Cultures of Creativity: The Centennial Exhibition of the Nobel Prize" will be inaugurated at the Old Stock Exchange (Börshuset) in Stockholm’s Old Town, in the presence of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden. This first major Nobel exhibition ever mounted in Sweden is being produced by the Nobel Museum on behalf of the Nobel Foundation. It will be on display at the Stock Exchange until 2004 while awaiting a museum building of its own.
The contents of the Centennial Exhibition will reflect the history of the Nobel Prize, while focusing on the concept of creativity. Since 1901 there have been more than 700 Laureates: the winners of the Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace and the winners of the Sveriges Riksbank (Bank of Sweden) Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Using original artifacts, visual material (photos, archival footage and newly produced films), multimedia and archive materials, the exhibition will present some 30 Laureates and their creative work, as well as ten milieus that have inspired creativity. Among the best-known names are Marie Curie, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Selma Lagerlöf, Martin Luther King, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Linus Pauling, Nelson Mandela and Samuel Beckett.
The Global Sponsors of the Centennial Exhibition are ABB, Ericsson, Merrill Lynch, Skandia and Volvo. In addition, Swedish national research councils and private foundations have also contributed substantially. The City of Stockholm is paying the rent at the Old Stock Exchange, and Skanska and AP Fastigheter are sponsoring its refurbishment.
In conjunction with the inauguration, the Nobel Museum will hold its own press conference on March 29 (see also separate press release).
The Internet was first used to announce
Nobel Prizes in 1994. The following year the Prize-Awarding
Institutions and the Nobel Foundation created the Nobel web site
on the Internet. This web site has then been upgraded with the aim
of creating a virtual Museum of science and culture.
Last year the web site became the Nobelprize.org.
As part of the Centennial celebration new sections will be introduced in 2001, primarily The Wallenberg Young Scholars Program, which will offer interactive educational documents for high school and college students. The first documents in this program will come on-line during the spring of 2001. It will be possible to learn about classical experiments in physics and to visit a virtual biochemistry laboratory and carry out experiments. Another section, Science & Technology, uses major discoveries in the natural sciences as a starting point for describing practical and industrial applications. This section is developed in collaboration with corporate sponsors Cisco Systems and Aventis Pharma (see separate press releases from Cisco and Aventis).
This spring the Royal Swedish Academy of
Sciences, which selects the Laureates in physics, chemistry
and economics, and Karolinska Institutet, which selects
the Laureates in physiology or medicine, are working with the
Nobel Museum to organize an essay contest for students
specializing in Natural Sciences at Swedish upper secondary
schools. The students may choose among three topics: The Origin
and Development of the Universe, The Origin and Development of
Life, and the Nobel Prizes of the Future.
A jury will select a prizewinner and two honorable mentions for each topic. The prize winners will receive SEK 20,000 (more than US $2,000) each and will have an opportunity to attend the Prize Award Ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall. A separate press release will be available on the web site of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, www.kva.se.
As part of the Nobel Centennial celebration in Oslo, a copy of the Centennial Exhibition will be inaugurated at the Norwegian Folk Museum on August 9. The exhibition, which will be on display for the remainder of the year, has the English title "Cultures of Creativity: The Centennial Exhibition of the Nobel Prize 1901-2001." After Oslo, this traveling copy of the exhibition will embark on a world tour, beginning in Tokyo in March 2002.
This year’s Nobel Centennial events will include a University Program on December 4-7, featuring visits by Laureates to some 20 Swedish and Norwegian institutions of higher education for three days of open lectures, discussions etc.
The Program will include the universities of Stockholm, Gothenburg, Lund, Uppsala, Karlstad, Linköping, Umeå, Växjö, Örebro and Luleå. Other participating institutions are the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, the Stockholm School of Economics, Karolinska Institutet and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. In Norway, the Program will include the universities of Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø and Trondheim as well as the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen.
Right now the allocation of participating Laureates among the various institutions of higher education is underway. By May or June, the Program will have taken firmer shape and the details will be made available.
Numerous pre-2001 Laureates will also participate in the Nobel Foundation’s Centennial Symposia, which are being organized during December 4-8 by the Prize-Awarding Institutions in each field: physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace and economic sciences. Generally speaking, a Centennial Symposium will consist of a closed scientific or scholarly portion and an open "popular" scientific/scholarly portion. There will be 30-50 participants at each Symposium, including Laureates and other prominent researchers.
The Centennial Symposia will be:
Physics, December 4-7
"Coherence and Phase Transitions in Condensed Systems"
Göteborg University/Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg
Chemistry, December 4-7
"Frontiers in Molecular Science"
Södergarn’s Education Center, Lidingö
Medicine, December 6-8
Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
Literature, December 4-5
The Swedish Academy, Stockholm
Peace, December 6-8
"The Conflicts of the 20th Century and the Solutions for the 21st Century"
The Norwegian Nobel Committee, Oslo, Norway
Economics, December 4-7 (preliminary
"Behavioral and Experimental Economics"
Grand Hôtel, Saltsjöbaden
The Nobel Centennial Concert will take place at the Stockholm Concert Hall, starting at 7 p.m. on December 8. Soloists will be Swedish soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and Welsh bass baritone Bryn Terfel. The conductor will be an American, Alan Gilbert, now Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.
The 2001 Laureates and all pre-2001 Laureates will be invited to the Nobel Centennial Concert. After the concert, the Laureates and the other guests of the Nobel Foundation will be invited to a supper at the Winter Garden of the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm.
The Nobel Foundation reception
This year’s Nobel Foundation reception on December 9 will be held at the Nordic Museum. The number of guests will total about 1,000 or twice the usual number.
The Prize Award Ceremony and
This year’s Prize Award Ceremony on December 10 will take place at the Stockholm Concert Hall, with space for about 1,800 people. The actual ceremony will be about 90 minutes long and will begin at 4:30 p.m. All Laureates (both 2001 and pre-2001) will be seated on the stage, along with the members of the Swedish Royal Family. Anne Sofie von Otter will perform together with members of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Alan Gilbert.
The Banquet will take place at the City Hall. The number of guests will be about 1,400.
In Oslo there will be a whole series of centennial events during the autumn: frequent lectures in connection with the Centennial Exhibition at the Norwegian Folk Museum, the presentation of new books about the Nobel Peace Prize, the presentation of eight Nobel Peace Prize stamps and two Nobel coins, in gold and silver.
In December, the central event will be the Peace Prize Symposium, with more than 30 former Peace Prize Laureates participating in addition to some of the world’s leading scholars in modern history and political science. After the symposium, the former Laureates will be staying on for the celebration of this year’s Laureate/s. This celebration will follow the traditional pattern: on December 10 the Ceremony in the City Hall and the Banquet at the Grand Hotel; on December 11 the School Project at the City Hall and the Concert at Oslo Spektrum. At the Concert, artists from all continents will be presenting relevant popular and classical music. The Norwegian Nobel Committee will be working closely with CNN, BBC, NRK and other media to bring these events to the wider world.
Sweden Post Stamps and the United States Postal Service are jointly issuing a series of four Nobel stamps to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize. In the United States, the motif will be a profile of Alfred Nobel on a 34 cent stamp. In Sweden, three 8 kronor stamps in different motifs will show the backs of Nobel medals. Czeslaw Slania has engraved all four stamps. The first day of issue will be March 22.
On August 16, Sweden Post Stamps will also issue two Nobel stamps with Peace Prize motifs (The Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders), produced by Gunnar Brusewitz.
Norway Post is issuing seven stamps featuring Peace Prize winners and one stamp featuring Alfred Nobel in all values. The engraver is Sverre Morken. The first day of issue is September 14. On the same date a separate exhibition will open at the Norwegian Mail Museum emphasizing the position of the Peace Prize in stamps.
Nobel Centennial stamps are also being issued in other countries, for example by the Royal Mail in Great Britain.
On October 23-27 a California Nobel Prize Centennial Celebration will take place to honor those Laureates who live in California. The event is being jointly organized by Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), along with the Swedish Consulates General in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It will include a symposium program and an exhibition.