King Charles XVI Gustav of Sweden presented the Nobel prizes 2018 in medicine, physics, chemistry and economics to the Stockholm Philharmonic on Monday. Nine winners of the most prestigious awards in the world received diplomas and gold medals from the hands of the monarch. The oldest winner of this year’s award — 96-year-old American physicist Arthur Ashkin — could not visit the Swedish capital for health reasons, he was repressented on the stage by his son Michael.
The Chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation Karl-Henrik Heldin, who opened the ceremony, noted that it is necessary to create favorable conditions for scientific discoveries. “Breakthroughs in science, like those we celebrate today, have been made possible by creating an enabling environment and providing scientists with freedom, independence, and long-term funding. Such a creative environment is fertile for new ideas due to its openness to a wide variety of talents, experiences and cultural traditions, as well as due to the fact that it allows young scientists to speak out,” he said.
After the opening speech of the Chairman, the laureates went on stage, traditionally decorated with thousands of fresh flowers, where gold medals and individual diplomas were received from the hands of the king, being in the center of the circle, which includes the letter N — the symbol of the Nobel Foundation and Nobel prizes.
The Nobel prize 2018 in physiology and medicine was awarded to James Ellison (USA) and Tasuku Honjo (Japan) for their discoveries in cancer therapy. The prize in physics was awarded to scientists Arthur Ashkin (USA), Gerard Mooru (France) and Donna Strickland (Canada) – and their “revolutionary discoveries in the field of laser physics”.
In the field of chemistry, the award was given to scientists Francis Arnold (USA) “for directed evolution of enzymes”, as well as to George Smith (USA) and Gregory Winter (UK) “for phage mapping of peptides and antibodies”. The winners of the Award of the state Bank of Sweden in Economics in memory of Alfred Nobel were Americans William Nordhaus and Paul Romer for his work in the field of economic modeling of the relationship of the market economy and climate change.
The Nobel medal and diploma
The Nobel medals with the profile of the founder of the award are made of 18-carat gold, their weight is 175 grams. Until 1980, medals weighed even more-up to 200 grams-and they were made of 23-carat gold. Economists get a little more heavy medals — 185 grams. But if the Nobel medal suddenly gets to the auction, its value depends not only on the weight, but also the one to whom it belonged.
Each Nobel diploma, the size of which is 23 by 25 cm, has special gold monograms. Their binding is made of leather. Diplomas in physics — in blue coating, in chemistry, physiology and medicine — in red, in Economics — in brown.
After the awards ceremony, the winners, guests, members of the Royal family and the government, representatives of the scientific, business and cultural elite went to a traditional Banquet in the Stockholm city hall.