“It’s easy for us because we can have breakfast meetings almost every day”
Telephone interview with May-Britt 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.
[May-Britt Moser] (Answers telephone speaking in Norwegian)
[Adam Smith] Oh hello, this is Adam Smith calling from NobelPrize.org. First of all many congratulations on the award of the Nobel Prize.
[May-Britt Moser] Thank you, so Göran called me earlier today as you know and I was crying. I was in shock and I’m still in shock. This is so great.
[AS] Where were you when you received the call?
[MBM] I was in a meeting, so we normally have meetings with the lab on the Monday morning to go through some data and we had such a great discussion. I had another meeting waiting for me so it was in the middle of two meetings and we were discussing the last part of the data, and those data are so exciting. [Laughs]
[AS] Too many exciting things to deal with at the same time I suppose. [Laughs]
[MBM] The only, only sad thing on a day like this is that Edvard, my husband, is still on a plane. So he doesn’t know. It’s so frustrating because we can’t get in touch with him.
[AS] That’s deeply frustrating, yes. When and where does he land?
[MBM] So he will land in Munich and I think he said around 1 pm.
[AS] Right. So there’ll be a posse of people waiting for him I imagine, perhaps you too.
[MBM] [Laughs] That would be fantastic if there would be people waiting at the airport. He would be in shock.
[AS] So you are a married couple and it’s very unusual for married couples to receive the Nobel Prize. One thinks of the Coris and the Curies, but what’s the secret of your partnership?
[MBM] I think it’s the secret … Ask me about the secret of why we could come so far together in science.
[MBM] I think that is that we have the same vision. We love to understand and we do that by talking to each other, talking to other people and then try to address the questions that we’re interested in, in the best way that we can think of. And to be able to discuss this when you get an idea on the spot instead of plan a meeting in one or two or three weeks, that makes a huge difference.
[AS] So there’s a lovely spontaneity about it.
[MBM] Yeah, and it’s so funny because you know we have the Kavli Institute here and we had this meeting with the Kavli Directors and they said “Yah, and then we have to plan all these meetings” and I said “It’s easy for us because we can have breakfast meetings almost every day” [Laughs]. And of course when you want to select your colleagues you want to have colleagues who respect you, who you can trust and who will support you and I think that is the clue, isn’t it.
[AS] Exactly. And talking of colleagues you know your co-Laureate John O’Keefe very well.
[MBM] Yeah, that’s so fantastic. You know, he was the supervisor of how to start to do these recordings in ’95, in the summer of ’95.
[AS] And you’ve remained close ever since?
[MBM] Yes. I think it’s also so extremely important to say that this is an honour for all the people who have supported excellent science in Norway. Of course our group, our family. But also the local people and the politicians and the research council, all have been extremely, extremely supportive to us. And I think it wouldn’t have been possible if that wouldn’t be the case.
[AS] That’s very nice. And so it’s a celebration not just for neuroscience but for Norwegian science today.
[MBM] Absolutely. And also that people trusted us and supported us, it’s a celebration of that.
[AS] Lovely, well, many, many congratulations again and thank you for speaking to us.
[MBM] Thank you so much.
[AS] Enjoy your day.
[MBM] [Laughs] Thank you. OK, it was nice to talk to you.
[AS] Nice to talk to you too.
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