Our nation's capital had the honor of feting the four American Nobel Laureates before they head to Stockholm for the official celebration: Dr. William C. Campbell (Medicine), Dr. Aziz Sancar and Dr. Paul L. Modrich (Chemistry), and Dr. Angus Deaton (Economics). The Laureates and their families had a big day in fine tradition: first, a symposium at The House of Sweden where they explained (or more accurately, made their first of many attempts at explaining) the work for which they were awarded the prize. You'd never think that a Nobel Laureate would struggle with anything, but struggle they did... simplifying 40, 50, 60+ year careers down to three minutes is not easy! But, as our host, Ambassador, H.E. Björn Lyrvall said, this is only a practice round before the Laureates give their full lectures in early December. And it was a practice round for all those in the audience as well, to help us learn what it takes to be a Nobel Laureate and how their achievements impact our society.
The Ambassador of Sweden H.E. Björn Lyrvall, IFE Digital Ambassador Devika Patil, IFE Founder & CEO Coach Kathy Kemper, IFE Fellow Joanne Ke, IFE Distinguished Fellow The Honorable Dr. R. David Edelman, US First Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil and co-host of CNBC's Make Me a Millionaire Inventor George Zaidan.
Then the Nobels all met with President Obama in the Oval Office, where they discussed their work and the situation of science and research in the U.S. Finally, they ended the day at a sumptuous black tie dinner hosted by the Swedish Ambassador, H.E. Björn Lyrvall, and the Norwegian Ambassador, H.E. Kåre R. Aas at the stately Swedish Residence. At the dinner, which all consider to be the OSCARS of D.C., the Laureates poked fun at themselves and each other, but also talked about the importance of keeping America's borders, hearts, and minds open in the years to come. This year's Nobel ceremonies take place against a backdrop of massive inflows of refugees to Europe and Sweden and a global migrant crisis, presenting huge challenges for the global community.
Against this backdrop, the Laureates emphasized that science is one of the few human endeavors that is borderless, that unites instead of divides, and that creates a new and better future for all, regardless of where it's done. It's common for labs to be multicultural, multiethnic, and multilingual, and this modern reality fit perfectly with Alfred Nobel's thinking when he established the prize in 1895. He mandated that no consideration be given to a candidate's nationality. Curiosity, the love of invention, collaboration, luck, failure, play and above all, hard work, the Nobels stressed, are not uniquely American or Swedish or Norwegian -- they are human.
IFE Distinguished Fellow The Honorable Dr. R David Edelman, 2015 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry Dr. Aziz Sancar and Dr. Paul Modrich, IFE Digital Ambassador Devika Patil and US Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil at the Swedish Residence in D.C.
The United States has a long history of immigrants winning Nobel prizes. One in four of its 357 total recipients have been immigrants, and this year it's much higher: only one 2015 United States Laureate is not an immigrant. This trend is not unique to the U.S.; twenty-two percent of Nobel laureates from the United Kingdom (the country with the second most laureates) have been immigrants.
H.E. Björn Lyrvall, Mrs. Madeleine Lyrvall and H.E. Kåre Aas received the Nobel luminaries as well as United States Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil, The Hon. R. David Edelman, Senator Ed Markey (MA), Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines, First Lady of Delaware Carla Markell, Dep Chairman Fed Dr. Stanley Fischer, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, President of the National Academy of Sciences Dr. Ralph Cicerone, Chief of Protocol Peter Selfridge, and co-host of CNBC's Make Me a Millionaire Inventor George Zaidan. Nobels were everywhere and there was a lively proud energy in the room!
Much toasting of "skål" continued and D.C.'s OSCAR evening carried on with Nobels as our ROCK STARS!