December 6, 2002
This year's Nobel Week begins on December 6, when a total of 12 Laureates will have arrived in Stockholm with their families, friends and colleagues. This year the Laureates' official parties consist of 16 people each, which means that nearly 200 guests in addition to the Laureates will participate in the various events underway during the Nobel Week, with the Prize Award Ceremony and the following Banquet on December 10 as the obvious high point.
The 2002 Laureates represent six different nations: five are American, two are Japanese, two are British, one is Hungarian, one is Swiss and one has double citizenship from both the U.S. and Israel. Two of the year's Laureates – Kurt Wüthrich, Laureate in Chemistry, and Vernon L. Smith, Economics Prize winner – were already here last year as participants in Centennial Symposia in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize. This year they are back as Laureates.
The Nobel Week begins during the weekend when the respective Prize-Awarding Institutions hold their traditional press conferences for the Laureates. The Laureates' lectures then follow, beginning at the Swedish Academy (Literature) on December 7, then at Karolinska Institutet (Medicine) and the Aula Magna, Stockholm University (Physics, Chemistry and Economics) on December 8. These lectures are open to the general public and require no tickets. The exception is the Swedish Academy, which finds it difficult to satisfy the heavy interest due to a shortage of seats. Its tickets for the general public, which are sold via selected bookstores, usually run out very quickly. This year, however, there will be an opportunity to listen to Imre Kertész at several other appearances during his visit to Stockholm. Another innovation this year will be the brief press conferences to be held directly after the lectures, which are mainly intended for journalists with a scientific or scholarly orientation.
December 9 will begin with a visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts and the exhibition "Impressionism and the North." The Laureates and their families will then be invited to lunch by their respective ambassadors. After these lunches, it will be time for the taping of "Nobel Minds," which this year is again being moderated by Nik Gowing, the well-known BBC World television anchorman. The day will end with the Nobel Foundation's reception at the Nordic Museum for about 1,000 invited persons, and with the Laureates as guests of honor.
In keeping with tradition, the year's Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet will take place at the Stockholm Concert Hall and the Stockholm City Hall, respectively, and with about 1,600 and 1,300 guests, respectively. The approximately 90-minute long Prize Award Ceremony will begin as usual at 4:30 p.m. with the Laureates and royalty seated on the stage. As earlier, the Concert Hall will be decorated with thousands of flowers from Sanremo, Italy, where Alfred Nobel died. The music for the Prize Award Ceremony – from Bach to Bela Bártok – will be performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Alan Gilbert. This year's soloists will be the brothers Urban and Joakim Agnas on trumpet.
The evening's Banquet will offer several surprises both when it comes to the Nobel menu and the entertainment during the dinner: the "Divertissement." The 2002 menu was composed by Sweden's Chef of the Year Association under the supervision of Anders Dahlbom. Cirkus Cirkör is in charge of the Divertissement. After the Laureates' speeches of thanks, the Banquet will conclude, and dancing will begin upstairs in the Golden Hall to the music of the Ambassadeur orchestra. If they still have the energy, Laureates and their official parties will then continue to the Nightcap, organized this year by the Stockholm School of Economics.
The Peace Prize, which was awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee to the former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, will be presented at an award ceremony at 1 p.m. on December 10 in the Oslo City Hall, Oslo, Norway. On the same occasion, the Laureate will also give his Nobel lecture. The ceremony will be followed by a banquet at the Grand Hotel in Oslo. The next day a star-studded Peace Prize Concert will be presented at the Oslo Spektrum.
A young tradition is the Laureates' visit to the Nobel Museum and its exhibition "Cultures of Creativity" on December 11. The Laureates will encounter themselves on the monitors featuring slide shows that surround the Nobel Square at the centre of the Museum space and will then go on to view one or more of the many inspiring short films about earlier Laureates that are at the core of the exhibition. The visit will end on a light note, with the Laureates each putting their signature under one of the chairs in the Museum's café. Then the Nobel Museum will open to the general public, and visitors can meet the year's Laureate in Literature, Imre Kertész, who will be signing his books in the Museum shop.
On December 12 the Laureates will visit the Nobel Foundation and then continue to various activities. The Laureates in Physics will participate in a panel discussion at the Royal Institute of Technology, followed by a lunch. The Stockholm School of Economics will invite the Prize winners in Economics to a seminar for students and other interested individuals. Meetings with students and colleagues will then continue on December 13, with the traditional visit to Uppsala, where the Laureates have been invited by Uppsala University to lecture. The day will also include a guided tour of the city's historical milieu and a lunch at Uppsala Castle. The evening will end with Lucia parties organized by Stockholm University and the Medical Students Association for those Laureates who are still in Stockholm. These events will form a moving as well as exhilarating and dignified ending to the Nobel Week.
On December 14, the Nobel Week will be over and the Laureates will leave Stockholm.