Lists of Nobel Prizes and Laureates
Lists of Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Magic Call

Minutes just before the announcement, the Nobel Prize awarding institution calls the Nobel Laureates to inform them that they have been awarded the Nobel Prize. These calls can come at unexpected times and reach Nobel Laureates in unexpected places. Here are some recollections of those special moments when the "magic call" came through.

Richard Ernst

Up in the Air

Richard Ernst was on a flight from Moscow when he was informed by the captain that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
See the video.

Reinhard Selten

Out Shopping

Reinhard Selten was with his wife shopping and nobody was around to answer the call.
See the video.

Günter Grass

At the Dentist

Günter Grass was due at the dentist when the call came through from Stockholm.
See the video.

Barry Marshall

At the Pub

"Well, Robin and I often have a beer down by the riverside at this time of year." Barry Marshall got the call in an Australian pub.
Read or listen to the interview.

Amartya Sen

He Needed a Cup of Coffee

Amartya Sen heard the phone ringing at 5 a.m. and thought something tragic had happened.
See the video.

César Milstein

At a Meeting

César Milstein was in the middle of a meeting when the call came through.
See the video.

Ivan Bunin

At a Country House in Provence

Ivan Bunin received the phone call in "a poor country house in an old Provencal town."
Read the speech.

James M. Buchanan

At Home

James M. Buchanan was planning to spend time with his wife at their country place, when the telephone call from Stockholm came.
Read the article.

Louis J. Ignarro

Say That Again?

When Louis J. Ignarro was told that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize he was left wondering whether he had heard correctly!
See the video.

William F. Sharpe

You Must Be Joking!

William F. Sharpe thought it was a joke when the phone call came.
See the video.

James A. Mirrlees

He Needed Some Proof

James A. Mirrlees asked politely for some proof when he received the call.
See the video.

Roy J. Glauber

In Pitch Blackness

"Things are going to get even more confused before they get better," Roy J. Glauber commented in a telephone interview. He received the call at 5:36 a.m.
Read or listen to the interview.

Elfriede Jelinek

A Black Hole in Her Head

Elfriede Jelinek remembers the day when the call came from the Swedish Academy in Stockholm.
Read the interview.


Share this:
To cite this page
MLA style: "The Magic Call". Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 21 Jul 2018. <>