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Through their lives and work, failures and successes – get to know the individuals who have been awarded the Nobel Prize. The host for this podcast is Adam Smith, who has the happy task of interviewing our Nobel Laureates. – Nobel Prize Conversations is a podcast with a new episode every Thursday. Sit in on our conversations as we delve into how these personalities found their fields of interest — often by coincidence — how they view collaboration, curiosity and failure, and what keeps them ...
 
Intimate conversations with Dr. Patch Adams and his son Lars, dive deep into Patch's true not-Hollywood lifestory as Lars and producer, Rainbow Valentine, uncover how Patch, once a suicidal misfit, started a revolution for Love and Joy and ended up a 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Part of Pantheon Podcasts.
 
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show series
 
"One minute I was a teenager and the next minute I was a woman.” – Leymah Gbowee shares her heartbreaking life story of a happy childhood cruelly interrupted by the Liberian civil war. Nobel Prize Outreach's Adam Smith is your host in this encore presentation as Gbowee also talks about her constant and tireless struggle for women’s rights and peace…
 
“I am very bad at giving up.” – Get to know one of the greatest minds of today, physicist Roger Penrose. Even beyond his 90th birthday he seems to be working more than ever and is engaged in various research projects. In an intimate conversation with the Nobel Prize’s Adam Smith, Penrose speaks about how 2020 was a year that gave him time to reflec…
 
"It's a mixture of obsession, passion, and a sense that this is my mission." In this episode we hear 2020 chemistry laureate Emmanuelle Charpentier speak about the drive you need as a researcher and what impact awards can have on a career. Her road to the Nobel Prize was a winding journey, and she recalls how science was her stability. Charpentier …
 
Nudges, sludges, and the connection between stubbornness and success. Join us for this encore presentation of our first episode of Nobel Prize Conversations, as host Adam Smith picks the brain of Richard Thaler, the 2017 laureate in Economic Sciences. Thaler's work has helped us to understand how people make choices in the real world and has also g…
 
Meet astrophysicist Andrea Ghez, recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy." In this energy-packed conversation with Adam Smith, you can hear about prima donna galaxies, Ghez’s personal pet star, and how she overcame one of her biggest childhood fears. Hosted on Acas…
 
What costs a billion dollars and takes 50 years to build and perfect? LIGO: A machine to detect gravitational waves. In this encore presentation of a conversation from Season 2, Kip Thorne confides, ”In the 70’s I thought we would have this done within one decade ... two decades at the most.” Predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, gr…
 
“What we’re talking about here is credit.” — In this conversation, recorded the day after the announcement from Stockholm, Ben Bernanke stresses the importance of the financial system as a critical part of the broader economy, not just a 'side show'. “That’s the real insight,” he says, “that credit can help provide growth, but if the credit mechani…
 
“When I woke up I had what seemed like thousands of messages” — Philip Dybvig’s phone was on silent, so he missed the call from Stockholm. When, half asleep, he did confirm the news, he recalls that his initial response was one of stress: “What’s this going to do to my life?” In this call recorded a few hours later he talks briefly to Adam Smith ab…
 
“There are very few people in the world I’d rather be sitting next to when discussing these issues” — In this interview recorded just after the public announcement, Douglas Diamond, the first of the three laureates to hear the news, speaks about his happiness at receiving the economic sciences prize together with Philip Dybvig and Ben Bernanke. He …
 
“Common people have a much greater impact than they can even imagine” — When asked what brings her hope, Oleksandra Matviychuk replies, “Ordinary people.” Although the challenges faced might seem insurmountable, she sees first hand how people have the power to change the status quo: “Mobilisation of common people can change world history quicker th…
 
"It is incredible" — Before the public announcement of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize Olav Njølstad, Secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, called Oleksandra Romantsova, Executive Director of Center for Civil Liberties to inform her that her organisation was one of the three Nobel Peace Prize laureates for 2022. Today the Norwegian Nobel Committee…
 
“You should be drawn to uncertainty” — Barry Sharpless quotes Einstein when asked about his daring approach to choosing problems: “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there’s no hope for it”. Ever inventive, he starts this conversation with Adam Smith not by talking about the work that led to his first Nobel Prize, or even to his second, but h…
 
“When the world is in trouble, chemistry comes to the rescue” - As just illustrated by the Covid pandemic, says Carolyn Bertozzi, “Chemistry is such an exciting area of science for people who want to have an impact.” This call with Adam Smith, recorded immediately after the public announcement of her Nobel Prize, caught her just before the world st…
 
“Reality is much more complex than we, as chemists, are able to imagine” — In the call recorded just after he had heard that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize, Morten Meldal describes how he views chemistry as a way of describing reality. It’s a field that should appeal to the young, he says, since “Understanding how everything works is a very ch…
 
“What a waste of time, now start doing some real physics!” – As a young man, John Clauser set out to topple quantum mechanics, but all his faculty thought he was crazy. "I thought it was important at the time, even though I was going to ruin my career by doing it, and in some sense I did: I’ve never been a professor!" But, as he tells Adam Smith in…
 
"It’s probably one of the most beautiful theories ever invented.” – Anton Zeilinger conveys his love for the elegant simplicity of quantum mechanics in this call recorded shortly after the public announcement of his Nobel Prize. “With very few symbols”, he explains, “you can explain a whole lot of things from the smallest quantum particles up to th…
 
“The conclusion is, yes, quantum mechanics resists all possible attacks!” — Alain Aspect was trying to find the limit of quantum mechanics, but, as he says in this call with Adam Smith, “I didn’t find it!”. Recorded just after he had received news of his Nobel Prize, this conversation captures his thoughts about the place of his work in the long hi…
 
“There were almost always other types of humans around.” In this telephone conversation recorded just after he had heard news of the award of his Nobel Prize, Svante Pääbo reflects on our relationship to extinct species of early hominins and how his exploration of their genetics might influence our view of ourselves and our place in nature. He also…
 
How do you make a Nobel Prize laureate? In this special bonus episode of Nobel Prize Conversations, we explore the origin stories of these remarkable individuals. This bonus episode features the Nobel Prize's Adam Smith, who shares some of his insights after speaking to more than 150 laureates. He is interviewed by the producer of Nobel Prize Conve…
 
"We must get up, we must work like maniacs – because time is running out." Maria Ressa speaks passionately as she discusses how authoritarians exploit social media to unravel democracy, what needs to be done to fight this and when she thinks the damage might become irreversible. 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa is one of the founders of …
 
Abdulrazak Gurnah is the author of ten novels and an emeritus professor of English and postcolonial literatures at the university of Kent. He has been hailed for his ability to convey the immigrant experience – but to him, literature is much more than just social commentry. "We also read because it gives us pleasure – sometimes completely distracts…
 
In an increasingly chaotic world, how can you learn to concentrate deeply on a single problem? Economic Sciences laureate Guido Imbens found his powers of concentration while getting lost in chess games as a child. ”For four or five hours you would just shut out the rest of the world, you would be focused on one task.” Your host is Adam Smith, Chie…
 
"If somebody tells me 'this is impossible', I always think that it still might be possible – and try to find a way around." Where would the world be, without the scientists who look beyond the conventional wisdom and try to solve the unsolvable problems? Hartmut Michel speaks about his working class background, discovering his love of science – and…
 
"I didn't really like school very much. And I was always like a little bit nervous about not doing well." David Julius, the 2021 physiology or medicine laureate, talks about his journey from anxious pupil to confident researcher, the importance of diversity in science, and how his research is connected to how different species experience the world …
 
"Try to follow your enthusiasm and do what you are really passionate about and what you really love to do.” As a child, Benjamin List thought chemists held the keys to the secrets of the universe. Luckily, by the time he learned this wasn't so, he was already hooked on doing chemistry experiments he found in books. Even today, he still feels passio…
 
”An amazing number of economists have extremely paternalistic ideas. They just want to tell people what to do.” Don't worry. David Card, 2021 laureate in Economic Sciences, doesn't want to boss you around. Instead, he's made a career trying to understand the economic choices people make. He shared the prize with Josuhua Angrist and Guido Imbens for…
 
Some people manage to retain the relentless curiosity of a child into adulthood, keeping them on a constant quest of exploration. Meet Giorgio Parisi, who tells us about his journey of curiosity, which started by learning to read numbers at the age of 3: “I was reading the number of the bus when the bus was arriving.” At an early age, he also start…
 
Meet economist Joshua Angrist who believes that to be a good labour economist, you should have had some real-life job experience. In conversation with our podcast host Adam Smith, Angrist tells us about his disinterest in school and how as a teenager he was more interested in earning money and maintaining his car. His later surprising and instant c…
 
“I think there's a little bit of romanticism in science still. I find that the dreamers are usually the ones that make it.” Practical work, like conducting experiments and gathering data, might be central to a scientist’s job. But there is also room for dreams and imagination – which can help us find the gaps in our knowledge, and dare to ask unexp…
 
In this episode, meet football fan and chemist David MacMillan. Together with podcast host Adam Smith, he speaks about the importance of storytelling and his strong belief that “science is supposed to be about having fun, it is not supposed to be about intimidating people.” MacMillan shares his journey from a family where no one had gone to univers…
 
American Prankster is a deep dive with the iconic Wavy Gravy, unfolding his fascinating,historic and hilarious lifestory as an original Beatnik, comedy pioneer, hippie icon and pioneering activist who uses humor as a weapon. Sharing stories that even he’d forgotten with producer/host, Rainbow Valentine, of Disorganized Crime: Smuggler’s Daughter, W…
 
"One minute I was a teenager and the next minute I was a woman.” – Leymah Gbowee shares her heartbreaking life story of a happy childhood cruelly interrupted by the Liberian civil war. Nobel Prize Outreach's Adam Smith is your host as Gbowee also talks about her constant and tireless struggle for women’s rights and peace in her home country. Her ne…
 
This special live episode features a conversation with Klaus Hasselmann, the 2021 physics laureate. Before that we will also present some highlights from this year’s announcement telephone interviews. Hear Klaus Hasselmann alongside his fellow 2021 laureates David Julius, Benjamin List, David MacMillan and Ardem Patapoutian – and relive some of the…
 
”Sometimes I make a mistake during the lecture, I'll make an argument that's not quite right and not even notice it, and a student will catch me. I just love it when students do that.” – Economic sciences laureate Paul Milgrom loves being a teacher. He also loves when his students correct him and ask him hard questions that he doesn't know the answ…
 
“I won the Nobel Prize so I built a much bigger house than I ever planned.” — Wole Soyinka envisioned a small cottage on a large plot of land as a retreat for his writing, but a phone call from Stockholm made it possible to super-size his plans with rooms for many artists to dedicate themselves to their work. Literature laureate Wole Soyinka, who o…
 
"When people think about other worlds, they think about other life." Nobel Prize Laureate Didier Queloz was a pioneering explorer of exoplanets – planets outside our own solar system – and now he finds himself at the centre of a new endeavour, the ETH Center for the Origin & Prevalence of Life. Here, scientists from a variety of disciplines will me…
 
“I make discoveries just because of very unique juxtapositions that I have never seen before. So there is some kind of resonance there.” – The creative and poetic chemistry laureate Joachim Frank always aspires to solve problems by looking at places no one has looked before. In this episode he describes how creative endeavours like "Poetry boxing" …
 
The Nobel Peace Prize is announced… Does Patch win or lose? Does it matter? Lars and his dad discuss the journey of the podcast, the meaning of the Nobel Peace Prize plus we hear from Patch’s life-partner, Susan and Lars shares what it was like growing up with Patch Adams as his dad. Thanks for listening! Part of Pantheon Podcasts Learn more about …
 
Medicine laureate Elizabeth Blackburn has strong feelings about the value of science. In this conversation with Adam Smith, she speaks openly about how society must begin to understand just how important science is in our lives. She also discusses the climate crisis and shares her experiences from a recent visit to Antartica, where she found hersel…
 
“The only sad thing is there aren’t more hours in the day!” – After a busy, tiring Sunday, mountain biking with the family, Guido Imbens’ Monday morning wake-up call came a little after 2am with the news from Stockholm. “I’m sure that the adrenaline will get me through,” he says in this conversation with Adam Smith recorded shortly afterwards, with…
 
“I saw that my phone was flooded with text messages,” says Joshua Angrist, having slept through the calls from Stockholm. In this brief interview he describes how he therefore called the MIT Press Department to check, and discovered it was true! The conversation turns to his work on the assumed benefits of elite schooling, his working relationship …
 
“I was kinda hoping I might go to sleep!” – David Card had just got his pyjamas on and was heading for bed, after a very late night arrival from a trip, when the call from Stockholm came. This interview with Adam Smith was recorded just moments later and he talks about his work on immigration, the setting of the minimum wage, and the relationship b…
 
World exclusive: The call from Oslo. Hear Maria Ressa’s reaction when she hears the news from Olav Njølstad, Secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, on being awarded the 2021 Nobel peace Prize just before the public announcement. "I'm speechless!" From October 4-11, don't miss our mini-season that will showcase the absolute freshest interviews …
 
“As if there isn’t enough to go around” – “A kind of miserliness,” is how Abdulrazak Gurnah describes the attitude of some in Europe to refugees. After all, he says, “Europeans streaming out into the world is nothing new” and he suggests those seeking succour also be seen as “talented, energetic people, who have something to give.” In this brief co…
 
“We thought it had a very low probability of success” – The best ideas in science are often the ones with the least chance of succeeding, says David MacMillan: “It’s the stuff that should never work which is where all the good stuff is!” As he tells Adam Smith in this conversation recorded on the morning of the announcement, the thrill of discovery…
 
“Making molecules is like creating something beautiful” – Benjamin List was sitting in a café with his wife, Dr Sabine List, when the call from Stockholm came. “We looked at each other in disbelief,” he says, and jokingly asked, “Is this the call?” To his amazement, it was! In this interview with Adam Smith, recorded outside that café, he reflects …
 
“Fundamental science is crucial.” – In this short conversation, recorded shortly after his Nobel Prize in Physics was announced, Giorgio Parisi reflects on the value of asking basic questions. But what sort of questions does he address? “My mentor, Nicola Cabibbo,” he says, “was usually saying that we should work on a problem only if work on that p…
 
"Why is this happening?" – Establishing a firm scientific basis for predicting what will happen to the climate, and in the shorter term to weather, has been the challenge that has occupied Syukuro Manabe's entire working life. In the interview with Adam Smith, recorded amidst the happy chaos resulting from the early morning announcement of his Nobe…
 
"We've been warning against climate change for about 50 years or so" – Caught entirely unawares by the call from Stockholm, Klaus Hasselmann's surprise is evident in this brief interview with Adam Smith, recorded just minutes after the news of his Nobel Prize in Physics had been announced. "I'll wake up tomorrow morning and find out," he says! Plea…
 
"The reason that we were able to do it is because we started looking at the natural world." – Turning to some natural product pharmacology was one key to David Julius' success in unlocking the mysteries of how we sense temperature. As he describes in this brief interview with Adam Smith, news that Stockholm was calling reached him in a rather round…
 
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