Nobel Prize Talks: Thomas C. Südhof
“Are you serious?” Listen to Thomas Südhof’s first reaction when he hears that he has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In this conversation he also talks about the importance of classical music for his scientific achievements, the role of collaboration, and why he thinks there are way too many rules in the education system.
Interview, December 2013
Interview with 2013 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine Thomas C. Südhof, 6 December 2013.
Thomas Südhof’s work in simple terms.
Thomas Südhof on being awarded the Nobel Prize.
Thomas Südhof on breakthroughs in research.
Thomas Südhof on role models and influences.
Thomas Südhof shares his thoughts of the Nobel Prize.Copyright © Nobel Media AB 2013
The 2013 Nobel Laureates met at the Grünewald Hall in the Stockholm Concert Hall in Stockholm on 11 December 2013 for the traditional round-table discussion and TV program ‘Nobel Minds’. The Nobel Laureates discussed the discoveries for which they’ve been honored, how these can be applied in a practical way, and the role of science in today’s society. The discussion was hosted by Zeinab Badawi of the BBC.
Telephone interview with Thomas C. Südhof following the announcement of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The interviewer is Nobelprize.org’s Adam Smith.
[AS] Hello Professor Südhof?
[AS] This is Adam Smith calling from the Nobel Prize website in Stockholm, where it has just been announced that you have been awarded the Nobel Prize, together with Jim Rothman and Randy Schekman.
[TCS] Are you serious?
[AS] I am serious, yes, my name is Adam Smith and I work for Nobel Media, which is the media company of the Nobel Foundation, and the announcement has just been made, just a very few minutes ago, here in Stockholm.
[TCS] Oh my god (laughs).
[AS] I just had the pleasure of speaking to your wife in California who I’m afraid I probably woke up, and she very kindly gave me your phone number.
[TCS] Oh (laughs), oh poor Lu (laughs).
[AS] She seemed …
[TCS] Let me just stop for a moment here because I’m driving in the middle of Spain somewhere.
[TCS] I was actually thinking that my friend was calling me, because I’m a little lost. Em. Okay. Em. I’m sorry (laughs). It’s a little unexpected.
[AS] (laughs) Well your wife seemed very happy to be woken up with the news and …
[TCS] (laughs) It is quite an amazing … gosh
[AS] It’s a time of awards. I mean, just a couple of weeks ago you were in New York receiving the Lasker Award
[TCS] Yes, yeah but you know … I mean there has been a lot of speculation about this, but I never thought I would be … I would get it, but anyway
[AS] And I imagine it’s also very nice to be awarded together with James Rothman and Randy Schekman
[TCS] Oh it’s wonderful; it’s wonderful, I am actually extremely happy about that, because I think that that’s incredibly fair, and you know, everybody has their own view of who deserves what and one tends to overestimate oneself but I think that, I mean, its more than fair.
[AS] You’re renowned for your productivity. What gives you the drive to work so hard?
[TCS] (laughs) My wife thinks I’m crazy, I don’t know. I am incredibly driven. I didn’t think I was when I was young, I thought I was normal, but as I got older and I see the other people around me, and I feel sometimes that I just … that’s the way I am. And … I still have to digest this, I’m sorry.
[AS] Of course, of course. And I guess now you have a choice, because you’re on your own in a car in the middle of Spain somewhere. You have the possibility of running off and being on your own, or facing everybody who wants to talk to you (laughs).
[TCS] Well, I’m supposed to give a talk this afternoon, so that will be quite interesting (laughs).
[AS] (laughs) Yes. Lucky institute that has you for the afternoon.
[TCS] And its … I cannot tell you how much I enjoy what I do, so I will always consider it an enormous privilege to be a scientist, and … of course, this honour is very … incredibly beautiful. (laughs)
[AS] So, my …
[TCS] Thank you very much.
[AS] My very sincere congratulations, thank you. Bye bye.
[TCS] Thank you very much, okay.
[AS] Pleasure. Bye bye
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Their work and discoveries range from the formation of black holes and genetic scissors to efforts to combat hunger and develop new auction formats.
See them all presented here.