Live Blog: 2013 Nobel Prize announcements

The Local/AFP
The Local/AFP - [email protected] • 11 Oct, 2013 Updated Fri 11 Oct 2013 08:44 CEST
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The winners of the 2013 Nobel Prizes are being announced this week in Stockholm and Oslo. The Local brings you all the latest news, reactions, and details surrounding the winners and why they won.

The winners of the 2013 Nobel Prizes are being announced this week in Stockholm and Oslo. The Local brings you all the latest news, reactions, and details surrounding the winners and why they won.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11th: Peace Prize

Oliver Gee, 11:43am
OK, I am going to close this blog down for the day, and indeed for the weekend. Check back in on Monday when we reopen it for the Economics Prize here in Stockholm. Read more from Richard on today's win here.
Oliver Gee, 11:25am

"Disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel's will. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has through numerous prizes underlined the need to do away with nuclear weapons. By means of the present award to the OPCW, the Committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons," the committee announce. Meanwhile, Richard is working hard on putting it all together here for easy reading. 

Oliver Gee, 11:01am

PEACE WINNER ANNOUNCED: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.

Oliver Gee, 10:46am

Here's an interesting peace fact:

Adolf Hitler was nominated once in 1939. Incredulous though it may seem today, the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939, by a member of the Swedish parliament, an E.G.C. Brandt. Apparently though, Brandt never intended the nomination to be taken seriously. Brandt was to all intents and purposes a dedicated antifascist, and had intended this nomination more as a satiric criticism of the current political debate in Sweden.

Oliver Gee, 10:30am

Peace has come to Oslo... but also to Stockholm. The Nobel chaos has left the Swedish capital (if only for one day), and it's a relief to be watching the prizes from the comfort of my own desk. A bit of office discussion going on here about today's potential winner.

Richard Orange, 10.14am

It looks like AFP have been hearing from the same source as Norway's NRK, who claimed to have the scoop on OPCW earlier this morning. Reuters Correspondent Gwladys Fouchė points out that NRK got it right last year when they tipped the European Union.

Richard Orange, 10.00am

Hello everyone and welcome to The Local Norway. We're now taking over coverage for the biggest and best of the Nobel Prizes, the Nobel Peace Prize, which will be announced in exactly one hour at Oslo's Nobel Peace Centre. 

Will it go to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl activist, whose candidacy has been massively hyped worldwide? Or will the Norwegian Nobel Committee surprise everyone once again? 

According to AFP, following a scoop from NRK earlier this morning, Malala's backers are going to be disappointed. 

David Landes, 2.40pm

My colleagues are back and writing up their quotes to add to our story on Alice Munro, The Local Norway for the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. Be sure to tune in to find out who will succeed the European Union (EU) as the next Nobel peace laureate. In the meantime, why not pick up a book from Alice Munro and curl up for a Nobel-winning read.

David Landes, 2.05pm

Just received word from Oliver that he's had a chat with Peter Englund from the Swedish Academy and is heading back to the office. Stay tuned. For those of you who can't wait, here's what Englund had to say to the official Nobel Media folks shortly after today's announcement:

David Landes, 1.45pm

"The Swedish Academy has not been able to get a hold of Alice Munro, left a phone message," was the message sent out shortly after she was announced as the prize winner. It's pretty early in the morning on the other side of the Atlantic. I wonder if they left a phone number for her to call back...

David Landes, 1.34pm

While Oliver does his best to track down Peter Englund, here is a list of the past 15 winners of the Nobel literature prize:

2013: Alice Munro (Canada)

2012: Mo Yan (China)

2011: Tomas Transtroemer (Sweden)

2010: Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)

2009: Herta Mueller (Germany)

2008: Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio (France)

2007: Doris Lessing (Britain)

2006: Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)

2005: Harold Pinter (Britain)

2004: Elfriede Jelinek (Austria)

2003: J.M. Coetzee (South Africa)

2002: Imre Kertesz (Hungary)

2001: V.S. Naipaul (Britain)

2000: Gao Xingjian (France)

1999: Gunter Grass (Germany)

Oliver Gee, 1:17pm

I am going to get Peter Englund now for an interview. Read all about the winner and the announcement


David Landes, 11.01am

Just received word that Ann has arrived at the Royal Academy buildings at Stockholm University for today's chemistry prize announcement. In other news, there have been some developments about why yesterday's physics prize announcement was delayed. Hint: it doesn't appear to have been a paper jam. Stay tuned.

Oliver Gee, 10.18am

Yes, keep an eye on Ann today, she will be on the scene and tweeting it all to the world as it happens. Follow her on Twitter here.

Ann Törnkvist, 9.57am

In a bit less than two hours, we'll know who has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The Reuters news wire has a short list of candidates that could be in the running: Paul Alivisatos, Chad Mirkin and Nadrian C. Seeman For contributions to DNA nanotechnology Bruce Ames For the invention of the Ames test of mutagenicity M.G. Finn and Valery Fokin and Barry Sharpless For the development of modular click chemistry

Tuesday, October 8th: Physics Prize

David Landes, 2.20pm

Well, the magnificent room here at the Royal Academy has calmed down considerably following a prolonged flurry of activity during which we learned that the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics was shared by Professors François Englert and Peter Higgs. You can read more about the winners and the research by clicking here.. After the press conference, I had a chance to speak with Björn Janson, a physics professor at Chalmers in Gothenburg (who also happens to sit on the Academy). He could hardly contain his enthusiasm about this year's winners. He called the work "the most beautiful experiment ever done", adding that both the theory as well as the experiment itself are incredibly impressive. I'm going to wrap things up for today, but be sure to check back again tomorrow for the chemistry price announcement. The Local's Ann Törnkvist will be on hand to bring you the latest.

Oliver Gee, 1.41pm

Sorry for the brief delay, was updating this. But here is what's just gone down. David asked the Nobel Laureate Professor Englert himself what he planned to say to Higgs when he saw him next. Englert responded: "I'm going to congratulate him of course, because I think he did very important and excellent work," Englert told us, adding that he had never met Professor Higgs until the July 4th conference at Cern last year. Read more about it here.

Oliver Gee, 1.10pm

Dave Landes just posed a question to Mr Englert himself about his relationship with Higgs. More info shortly.

Oliver Gee, 1.01pm

More on the winning discovery here.

Oliver Gee, 1.01pm

A bit of background on the winners: François Englert was born in 1932 in Belgium, and has a Ph.D from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, in Belgium. He is now Professor Emeritus at the same university. Peter W. Higgs is a UK citizen, born in 1929 in Newcastle upon Tyne. He studied at King's College, University of London, and is the professor emeritus at University of Edinburgh.

Oliver Gee, 12.47pm

PHYSICS WINNERS ANNOUNCED: The award went to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert for "the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider."

Oliver Gee, 12.41pm

Should just be a few minutes until the announcement now. A lot of speculation in this office, at least, about why they would have such a long delay.

David Landes, 12.29pm

So, we're now 15 minutes from the latest announced time for the revealing of the winner of the Nobel in physics. And there is a definite uptick in activity here in the room where the press conference will take place. Most signs point to the announcement happening at 12.45pm. The projector has been adjusted, the water bottles have been opened, etc. The only thing we still don't know is who the winner(s) will be and why it took so long for them to make the announcement.

David Landes, 12.11pm

An interesting theory about the delay has emerged from one of our Twitter followers, Sebastian Buhai:

Can't say I'm in a position to verify the theory, but worth considering, I'd say.

David Landes, 12.02pm

Just received word there is an additional 15 minute delay. 12.45 at the earliest is when we will get to know the winner of the Nobel in physics. Maybe someone got locked in the toilet? Pretty soon the story of the delay will be bigger than the story of the winner...depending on what we learn about why things kept getting delayed. Strange times here at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The journalist to my right is dealing with the situation appropriately. He's digging into a Mars bar.

Oliver Gee, 11.51am

While we’re waiting, why not check out a picture gallery of when we asked Stockholmers about their favourite prize. Clue: no one said Physics.

David Landes, 11.50am

A NEW delay has just been announced. Another 15 minutes. The press conference not due to start until 12.30 "at the earliest". This is indeed unusual. I wonder what the explanation will be when they finally emerge. Oliver Gee, 11.49am While we’re waiting, why not check out a picture gallery of when we asked Stockholmers about their favourite prize. Clue: no one said Physics.

David Landes, 11.48am

Well, we were supposed to have known the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics by now, but as we've pointed out, the announcement has been pushed back for unknown reasons. The spokeswoman who made the announcement quickly disappeared, and no one seems to have any concrete facts about the reason for the delay. According to the Nobel Foundation's official twitter account, "the academy is still in session". So perhaps picking the winner this year isn't as clear cut as many seemed to think. In the meantime, people around me are calling their editors and producers in a bid to reschedule live feeds, etc. But not else to do but wait, I guess.

Oliver Gee, 11.42am

No one seems to know why the announcement has been delayed by half an hour... very unusual.

David Landes, 11.21am

Greetings from inside the walls of the Royal Swedish Academy. I've secured a seat at the table for the press conference, and I can sense the energy building (physics pun not intended). They tell us the physics prize will be announced at 11.45am "at the earliest" by Staffan Normark, Permanent Secretary of the Academy, or RSAS, for short.

Oliver Gee, 10.59am

Just 47 minutes until the announcement. You want some more fun facts? OK, here come a few: - Alfred Nobel, who left most of his fortune to start the Nobel Prizes, was once nicknamed "The Merchant of Death" for inventing dynamite. - The average age of all Nobel Laureates in all prize categories between 1901 and 2011 is 59 years. Physics laureates, however, are the youngest bunch on average at 55. They don't wast any time. The youngest physics laureate was 25 years old Lawrence Bragg who won with his father in X-ray spectra research.

Oliver Gee, 10.35am

Is it too early for a Fun Fact? Of course it's not. It's never too early. There's only one person in history who has ever been awarded the Physics Prize twice. His name was John Bardeen (1908 - 1991) and he worked in the field of superconductivity.

Oliver Gee, 10.25am

Morning! Time for day two of our Nobel coverage, and editor Dave Landes is on his way to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. While we're waiting for him to get there, why not read more about the man who's tipped to win today. Why not follow Dave on Twitter while you're at it?

Monday, October 7th: Physiology or Medicine Prize

Oliver Gee, 2.49pm

I'm shutting down this blog for today, but read my whole interview with Göran Hansson here. He used a nice metaphor about Stockholm transport to explain the winning discovery, explained the practicality of the research for the man on the street, and told us why so few women have won the award. Thanks for reading, and tune in again tomorrow for the Nobel Prize in Physics, where editor David Landes will be on the scene and at the helm. Cheers.

Oliver Gee, 12.22pm

Just spoke to Göran Hansson, Secretary General of the Nobel Committee at Karolinska Institutet. He explained the win in simple English, explaining that the prize was awarded for the expansion of scientific knowledge rather than the practical use of the discovery. More soon, I'm heading back to the office.

Ann Törnkvist, 11:52am

"It was in one way expected, as they recently got the world's second most prestigious prize, the Lasker Prize," Swedish science journalist Karin Bojs told Sveriges Television (SVT) upon news of the announcement.

Oliver Gee, 11.51am

Announcement over, time to go and try and snag an interview or two and to try and get to the bottom of all this.

Oliver Gee, 11.49am

Straight from the horses mouth: "Each cell is a factory that produces and exports molecules. For instance, insulin is manufactured and released into the blood and chemical signals called neurotransmitters are sent from one nerve cell to another. These molecules are transported around the cell in small packages called vesicles. The three Nobel Laureates have discovered the molecular principles that govern how this cargo is delivered to the right place at the right time in the cell." Pretty straight forward, really.

Oliver Gee, 11.45am

What did the prize winners say when they were informed of their win? Göran Hansson responds: "I've spoken to Rothman and Schekman and they were both delighted... they're both looking forward to coming to Stockholm."

Oliver Gee, 11.43am

Background on the winners: James E. Rothman, born in 1950 in Massachusetts, in the US, studied at Harvard Medical School and was a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Started his cell research at Stanford. Randy W. Schekman, born in 1948 in Minnesota, in the US, studied at Stanford and the University of California. Currently the professor in Molecular and Cell Biology at University of California at Berkeley. Thomas C. Sudhof: Born in 1955 in Göttingen, Germany, her studied at Georg-August-Universität in Germany and later at the University of Texas. Later he became an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and more recently has been appointed at Stanford University.

Oliver Gee, 11.40am

A few perplexed faces here, though one man started clapping. Allow us to break this all down as the jury motivates their choice.

Oliver Gee, 11.35am MEDICINE WINNERS ANNOUNCED: Göran Hansson, Secretary General of the Nobel Committee at Karolinska Institutet announced the winners: James Rothman, Randy Schekman, and Thomas Sudhof for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells. Oliver Gee, 11.25am Here, why not watch what I am watching:

Oliver Gee, 11.23am

I am here at the Karolinska Institute. In a crowd of journalists and spectators. Cameras and microphones. We're all just waiting now... a hush has passed over the crowd as we wait for the jury to come and share the news.

Ann Törnkvist, 10:47am

Another tidbit. It's not enough to be an eminent researcher, you have to be what head of the jury Göran K. Hansson calls a "discoverer" - and not only that... the discovery has to be paradigm-shifting. In other words, not something that simply nudges science along, but something that either unlocks new potential or has the scientific community reexamining that area in a completely new light.

Ann Törnkvist, 10:35am

Some facts about the prize: The average age of medicine laureates is 57, but Frederick G. Banting was 32 when he won in 1923 for discovering insulin. Peyton Rous, meanwhile, was the oldest laureate so far. At age 87, he was was recognized in 1966 for his discovery of tumour-inducing viruses.

Ann Törnkvist, 10:12am

Last year's medicine prize went to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for research into stem cells for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripoint.

Oliver Gee, 10.01am

Hello readers and welcome to The Local's Live Blog of the Nobel Prize announcements for 2013. Here, we will report on all the announcements live from the scene. Today, we're kicking off with "Physiology or Medicine" - a prize which has been given by the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet to 201 people since 1901. But what (or who) is Nobel, and what are the prizes all about? Read more about Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel himself, his invention of gunpowder, and how his last will and testament led to the modern Nobel Prizes.

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The Local/AFP 2013/10/11 08:44

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