The Nobel Prize 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.

Up in the air

Richard Ernst

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

Out shopping

Reinhard Selten

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

At the dentist

Günter Grass

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

At the pub

Barry Marshall

“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

He needed a cup of coffee

Amartya Sen

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

César Milstein

César Milstein was in the middle of a meeting when the call came through.
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At a country house in Provence

Ivan Bunin

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

At home

James M. Buchanan

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

Louis J. Ignarro

When Louis J. Ignarro was told that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize he was left wondering whether he had heard correctly!
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You must be joking!

William F. Sharpe

William F. Sharpe thought it was a joke when the phone call came.
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He needed some proof

James A. Mirrlees

James A. Mirrlees asked politely for some proof when he received the call.
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In pitch blackness

Roy J. Glauber

“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

A black hole in her head

Elfriede Jelinek

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

First published 12 September 2016