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The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet in Stockholm, 2004

 

The celebration of the Festival of The Nobel Foundation, 10 December, begins with the formal Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in the Stockholm Concert Hall. The year's prizes are presented for the 1,600 guests who then watch the Laureates as they one by one respectfully receive their medals and diplomas from the hand of H.M. the King. The seats in the stalls are reserved primarily for the Laureates' families, representatives of the Prize-Awarding Institutions, the Riksdag and Government and Corps Diplomatique.

Seated on the podium are approximately 90 members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Karolinska Institutet's Nobel Assembly and the Swedish Academy. Here too are the Board of Directors of the Nobel Foundation and previous Laureates. In front of them sit this year's Laureates and Their Royal Majesties the King and Queen, H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria, H.R.H. Prince Carl Philip, H.R.H. Princess Madeleine and H.R.H. Princess Lilian.

 

Presentation Speeches
The Chairman of the Nobel Foundation and Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine in 1982, Professor Bengt Samuelsson, holds an introductory speech after which presentations of the year's Nobel Laureates and Prize Winners in Economics follow.

The presentation speeches will be held by:

Professor Lars Brink Physics
Professor Lars Thelander Chemistry
Professor Sten Grillner Physiology or Medicine
Professor Horace Engdahl Literature
Professor Torsten Persson Economic Sciences


The formal ceremony will be framed by short musical interludes and vivid flower arrangements. When the National Anthem has been played and the Royal Family has left the podium, it is custom for the Laureates' family members to ascend the stage to congratulate the Laureates.

 

This Year's Floral Decorations
To honour the memory of Alfred Nobel, who spent the last years of his life in Sanremo, Italy, and died there on 10 December 1896, the City of Sanremo sends flowers every year to decorate the Concert Hall and the City Hall. This year, the Concert Hall is being decorated with Sanremo's most ubiquitous flower – the carnation.

The backdrop, with its red and cerise tones, is decorated with carnations, gerbera, blood-red roses, fescue grass and phaelenopsis orchids. Silver fir and branches of juniper provide a contrasting Swedish winter feel by the orchestra podium and the edge of the stage. There are also stalks of lilac phaelenopsis. A total of 13,000 flowers pride the Concert Hall. Helén Magnusson of Hässelby Blommor florists is responsible for the arrangements.

 

Musical Interludes
The music performed during the Nobel Prize Award ceremony is by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and includes works by Elfrida Andrée, Joseph Martin Kraus, Giaocchino Rossini and Johann Sebastian Bach. The conductor is Staffan Larson with soprano Susanna Andersson as soloist.

 

The Nobel Banquet
In the evening after the ceremony in the Concert Hall comes the Banquet at the City Hall. On arrival, guests see the building illuminated against the December gloom, and once inside the Blue Hall, the golden Nobel tableware, lighted candles and intricate flower arrangements.

The Banquet programme follows tradition, beginning with the processional entry of the Royal Family and other guests of honour at 7 p.m. Prior to this, the guests of honour will have been presented to the King and Queen in the Prince's Gallery.

Behind the Master of Ceremonies are two female marshals followed by H.M. The King with his dinner partner, the wife of one of the Nobel Laureates in Physics, and H.M. The Queen with the Chairman of the Nobel Foundation and Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine in 1982, Bengt Samuelsson, who is also the host of this evening's Banquet. Preceded by a trumpet fanfare by father and son trumpeters Olle and Mikael Hermansen, the procession enters to the accompaniment of organ music played by Mats Ericson.

At the very first Nobel Banquet in 1901, held in the Mirror Hall of the Grand Hôtel, there were 113 male guests in attendance. This year there will be approximately 1,300 guests, of which 200 are students.

 

Menu and Tableware
This year's menu has been composed by Magnus Lindström of the company Swedish Taste from Göteborg in collaboration with Magnus Johansson and Ted Johansson at Dessertakademien and Gunnar Ericsson of the Stadshuskällaren restaurant. Three complete menus were tested during the autumn with the final choice then refined and suitable wines selected. As usual, the menu will be secret until the Banquet has commenced at 7 p.m.

Restaurateur Ulf Östenius of the Stadshuskällaren restaurant in the City Hall is in charge of table-settings and serving staff. Among the copious staff are more than 20 chefs and 200 servers.

The table is laid with the special Nobel tableware set created for the 90th anniversary of the Nobel Prize in 1991 by three Swedish designers, Karin Björquist (Rörstrand/Gustavsberg), Gunnar Cyrén (Orrefors) and Ingrid Dessau (Klässbols Linneväveri). The Blue Hall's 65 tables are covered with approximately 470 metres of linen cloth and the meticulous table setting uses no less than about 7,000 porcelain pieces, 5,000 glasses and 10,000 items of silverware.

Before dessert, and on other occasions earlier during the evening, a “Divertissement” will be presented. The content and the participating artistes are also kept secret until the Banquet gets underway. After the coffee and liqueurs, there is a student parade of massed standards on the grand staircase and the upper balustrade. Colleges and universities from Stockholm and the provinces are represented.

 

Speeches of Thanks
After this come the speeches of thanks from the Laureates. Toastmaster is Elin Andersson. Only one Laureate from each discipline holds a speech. The sequence is the following:

Physiology or Medicine Dr. Richard Axel
Chemistry Professor Avram Hershko
Physics Dr. David J. Gross
Economic Sciences Professor Edward C. Prescott

 

The Banquet ends at approximately 10.30 p.m. when the Ambassadeur Orchestra, with soloists Malena Lazlo and Micke Grahn strike up the dance in the Golden Hall. During this part of the evening, Their Majesties the King and Queen receive the Laureates and their partners in the far end of the Prince's Gallery.

 

Flowering Rooms at City Hall
Almost 10,000 flowers and 5,000 green trimmings have been donated by the City of Sanremo for the City Hall decorations. Simple shapes and bright colours are the leitmotif. The twenty-five-metre-long table of honour will be laid with colourful lines of flowers. Framing the Banquet in the Blue Hall are flower arrangements in the shape of pillars, wreaths, medallions and pyramids placed on the table of honour, the staircase and balcony. The Prince's Gallery and its twenty-two standing candlesticks are bedecked with floral wreaths. The Golden Hall, the Three Crowns Hall and the foyer have also been decorated in harmonizing style.

For the fifth year, flower arrangements are by Gunnar Kaj, assisted by florists, carpenters and students from the florist course at the Komvux adult education college in Upplands-Bro, near Stockholm.

 

New Diploma Artists
The Nobel diplomas and medals are displayed in cabinets in the Prince's Gallery throughout the evening. This year, three new artists have been asked to create art for the Nobel diplomas. Karin Mamma Andersson has created the artwork for the diploma for the Laureate in Literature; Ingegerd Möller the art on the diplomas for the Laureates in Chemistry and Jordi Arkö the art on the diplomas for the Prize Winners in Economics. The diploma for the Laureates in Physics has a work by Nils G. Stenqvist, who has contributed art for the Royal Academy of Sciences since 1999. Annika Rücker is responsible for the calligraphy on all these diplomas.

The Medicine Laureates' diplomas portray the Nobel medal with calligraphy by Susan Duvnäs. The binding of the diplomas have been performed by Ingemar Dackéus at Knut Hässlers Bokbinderi. The medals have been made at the Royal Mint and their cases are handcrafted at casemaker Anders Eriksson's atelier.

 

Previous Nobel Laureates
Previous Nobel Laureates taking part in this year's celebrations are Leon M. Lederman (Physics, 1988), Stanley B. Prusiner (Physiology or Medicine, 1997), Eric R. Kandel (Physiology or Medicine, 2000) and Leland H. Hartwell (Physiology or Medicine, 2001) and Elie Wiesel (Peace, 1986). The previous Swedish Laureates present are Kai M. Siegbahn (Physics, 1981), Torsten N. Wiesel (Physiology or Medicine, 1981) and Bengt Samuelsson (Physiology or Medicine, 1982).

 

Other Guests
Among the guests are the President of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet and the Governors of the National Banks of Norway and Sweden, Svein Ingvar Gjedrem and Lars Heikensten as well as the Minister of Science and Technology in China, Professor Guanhua Xu.

Also attending the Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet are Dr. Henry T. Yang, Chancellor of University of California, Santa Barbara, Professor Yitzhak Apeloig, Chancellor of Technion, Haifa, Israel and Mr. Fred Kavli, founder of the Kavli Foundation.

Representatives of the Riksdag and Government are the Speaker Björn von Sydow and the three Deputy Speakers, Prime Minister, Göran Persson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laila Freivalds, and Minister for Education and Culture, Leif Pagrotsky.

Swedish participants are people who perform Nobel-related tasks in one capacity or another, or who support the sciences through donations or other work on behalf of the Foundation and of the Prize-Awarding Institutions. The Federation of Young Scientists, with support from the Nobel Foundation, organizes its Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SYISS), which is being attended by 30 young people from 18 different countries.

 

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