“I’m terribly grateful, it’s absolutely fantastic”
Telephone interview with Edvard Moser following the announcement of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 6 October 2014. The interviewer is Adam Smith, Chief Scientific Officer of Nobel Media.
[Edvard Moser] Hello
[Adam Smith] Hello, my name is Adam Smith calling from Nobelprize.org, the website of the Nobel Prize.
[EM] Oh yes.
[AS] Have you already heard today’s news?
[EM] Yeah I heard the news, I came out of the plane, landing at 12:30 and then there was a respresentative of the airport who came with flowers and picked me up in a car. I didn’t understand anything, and then finally I found out because I saw there were 150 emails and 75 text messages that had come in the last two hours. And then I saw there was one from Göran Hansson, so then, sort of, things started to add up. I guessed what it was, but it took me a little while. But I’m terribly grateful, it’s absolutely fantastic. So … And this year, I mean, I didn’t even know it was today. I really didn’t even think about it. So, even more pleasant when it’s a such a surprise.
[AS] Indeed, well, what a bewildering way to find out.
[EM] Yes, it is. [Laughs]
[AS] And have you managed to speak to May-Britt, your wife yet?
[EM] No, I’ve tried to call three times and I don’t get through, so I hope she will call back sooner or later. But the problem is that the list of incoming phones is so large, so I don’t know if she … but I guess she will find a slot to talk in a few minutes probably.
[AS] I’m sure. Well, I was lucky enough to speak to her a little while ago, and she said she cried when she heard the news and also that the only sadness was that you were on the plane and couldn’t share it at that moment.
[EM] Yeah, yes, it would have been so fantastic to share that moment together. But anyway, I mean the important thing is that it happened and it’s fantastic both for us and for the lab, and for everyone who has supported us, so that’s a lot of people. I mean it is a teamwork, and it is a lot of people who are completely invisible, like all the people at the university, NTNU and people in the research council, for sort of giving us absolutely top conditions for 20 years, which has made it possible to do the research we have done. So, it’s a lot of people behind this.
[AS] It’s interesting that May-Britt made the same point, so you’re obviously in perfect synchrony as a married couple.
[EM] Yeah, yeah, that’s interesting because this is not planned. It’s so unexpected. [Laughs]
[AS] Well, there you are, that’s the proof. And of course you’ve received the Prize with John O’Keefe who I suppose has been something of a mentor at some points.
[EM] Yes, so, yes. I mean in 1996, as probably May-Britt told you, I worked there for three months and she was there for one month, so he trained us to do the type of single cell recordings that we have been doing since. The three months I spent in his lab are the most efficient learning period I ever had. I learnt so much, and he took so much care of me and spent so much personal time on me, which even, I got a desk in his office and I shared the same lab with him. So he has been a fantastic mentor and it’s extremely nice that we can now share the prize together.
[AS] That’s lovely. Have you managed to get away from the airport yet or are you still there?
[EM] No, I’m still at the airport. There’s a lot of people standing here. So they’re trying to get me into the Max Planck Institute, because there’s going to be a press conference at two o’clock. I probably better have to leave. But I saw that there was a number from Sweden so therefore I made an exception and took the call.
[AS] Oh, well, we’re deeply grateful. So enjoy your day in Munich, a strange place to find yourself celebrating.
[EM] OK, thank you very much.
[AS] And thank you so much for speaking to us, thank you.
[EM] Thank you, yeah, OK, goodbye.
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