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Winners accept prizes in Nobel week climax

AFP/The Local · 10 Dec 2010, 20:36

Published: 10 Dec 2010 18:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Dec 2010 20:36 GMT+01:00

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This year's medicine laureate, Robert Edwards, the pioneer of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), was too ill to attend and his wife Ruth collected the prize.

The formal event, held as tradition dictates on the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel in 1896, took place at Stockholm's Concert Hall, which was decked out in 20,000 pink, red and purple flowers for the occasion.

The laureates and royal family were among some 1,600 specially invited guests, all clad in white tie dress for men and evening gowns for women.

While Prince Daniel, husband to Crown Princess Victoria made his debut at the Nobel ceremony as a member of the royal family, his sister-in-law Princess Madeleine missed the event, choosing to remain in New York where she has been living and working since last spring.

While the 2009 Nobel season saw a record number of female laureates, no women won awards this year.

Peru's Mario Vargas Llosa, a giant of Latin American literature whose political ambitions saw him run for president of his native country, finally won the literature prize at age 74 after being pegged as a favourite for many years.

Edwards, the 85-year-old "father of the test-tube baby," won the medicine award for work that has enabled millions of couples struggling with fertility problems to become parents.

The physics prize went to Russian-born researchers Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for their groundbreaking work on graphene, a form of carbon touted as the wonder material of the 21st century.

Richard Heck of the United States and Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki of Japan won the chemistry prize for forging a toolkit to manipulate carbon atoms, paving the way for new drugs to fight cancer and for revolutionary plastics.

The economics prize went to three labour market experts, Americans Peter Diamond and Dale Mortensen and British-Cypriot Christopher Pissarides, whose work helped resolve puzzles such as why people remained unemployed despite a large number of job openings.

The Nobel Prizes consist of a gold medal, diploma and 10 million kronor ($1.4 million) per discipline, which is shared if there is more than one recipient.

The ceremony was followed by a gala banquet and ball at Stockholm City Hall hosted by the King and Queen for some 1,300 invited guests.

The guests had already take place in the large Blue Hall when shortly after 7pm, the King and Queen, laureates and other guests at the table of honour entered slowly and solemnly to the sound of an organ and orchestra.

Story continues below…

A short dance show and a congratulatory toast by the King preceded the multiple course dinner, which included a winter chanterelle salad and duck, turbot and beef.

Edwards' wife Ruth sat next to Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt at the honour table, decorated with red, pink and purple flowers in bud vases that emulated the test tubes central to her husband's work.

Earlier on Friday, the head of the Norwegian Nobel committee placed this year's Nobel Peace Prize on an empty chair at a ceremony in Oslo as Beijing raged against the award to dissident Liu Xiaobo, who is languishing in a Chinese prison cell.

Communist authorities in Beijing fumed at the prize for the 54-year-old author, while many voices in the international community, including last year's laureate, US President Barack Obama, led calls for Liu to be released.

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Your comments about this article

22:05 December 10, 2010 by shahidbutt
i was in the event :)
22:42 December 10, 2010 by Njal
I do not believe that this award is as prestigious as it once was. After giving the award to Yasser Arafat and Obama (what did he actually do to deserve this award?), it no longer has the same meaning.

Those 2 men specifically, should not have been awarded the prize.
23:58 December 10, 2010 by adshasta
To Njal, So what, Myself and many more think the opposite of you. You are so wrong. I can't think of anyone more wrong than you..,
00:00 December 11, 2010 by Njal
except yourself perhaps.
05:28 December 11, 2010 by ilockitdown
yea obama wining was dumb. but i just like to see who wins the science related prizes, don't really pay attention to the others :P
10:36 December 11, 2010 by Rebel
If Obama bombs Iran will he get another prize?

Oh, and it is nice that the awards are often given to human rights activists who promote popitical involvement from all peoplke in a society as well as free speech.

So since the Swedish Democrat's leader was barred from the event, and Sweden will likely bow to Obama and hand over Assange if they get the chance, when will Sweden try to live up to the ideals of democracy?
11:00 December 11, 2010 by calebian22
Indeed the chemistry and physics breakthroughs this year were truly remarkable. Both of them are potential game changers.
14:24 December 11, 2010 by Rolle
I just care for the literature and science awards. I think is a magnificent event.
15:40 December 11, 2010 by eppie

Well the physics prize was a bit premature. Usually these prizes are given after a certain discovery has led to a range of practical applications. For sure worth a prize....but not this year.

But in general, the chemistry, physics and medicine prizes are great, economics is just plain ridiculous and literature and peace are just there for the media attention.
13:54 December 12, 2010 by calebian22

Well, then the chemistry prize is premature as well by your reckoning since no practical applications have been developed. Graphene has the potential to turn the semicon world on it's ear. But you are correct though, the sciences are much more interesting. With the others there will always be controversy due to the subjective nature inherent in the selection process.
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