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The Nobel Marathon

p. 17

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1On the occasion of the Nobel Prize ceremony, the winner spent ten days in Sweden. There, with his consent, he followed a programme tailored to him by the Nobel Foundation – a fast-paced marathon which varies from one recipient to another. While it is customary for the winner to give at least one lecture, Serge Haroche chose to take up the five invitations he received.

2From 13 to 15 December, he was thus able to present his research in the leading Nordic universities, in Uppsala, Goteborg, Lund, Copenhagen, and Helsinki. Several constants nevertheless remained: the awards ceremony, two days after the Nobel Lecture delivered by the winner, still took place on 10 December in the Stockholm Concert Hall, that is, on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. It was followed by the great traditional banquet, hosted by the king of Sweden and the Prime Minister, and attended by several hundred people. The banquet is the media highlight of the week, and its ceremonial conduct is followed with the keenest attention by the entire Nordic population. Each year dozens of randomly selected people have the privilege of joining the guests. The winner’s programme during his week in Scandinavia ultimately alternated between real scientific events (lectures given in universities), genuine contact with Nordic schools (Serge Haroche’s visit to the French lycée Saint-Louis in Stockholm, for instance), relaxation (particularly concerts) and social functions eagerly awaited by the public. During one of the coldest times of the year, with the least sunlight, this was an exceptional moment. For an entire week, the world’s media had their gaze set on science.

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« The Nobel Marathon », La lettre du Collège de France [En ligne], 7 | 2015, mis en ligne le 29 octobre 2015, consulté le 20 janvier 2019. URL :

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