How Did You Find Out You Won a Nobel Prize?

Stories from New Scientist.
Oct. 20 2012 7:45 AM

What Does It Feel Like To Win a Nobel Prize?

Memorable quotes from this year’s winners.

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Nobel Prize medallion

BERIT ROALD.

Some of the winners of this year's Nobel prizes tell us how they heard the news and how it will affect their lives and research.

"Could it be someone is pulling your leg? That has happened before … You have to be a little bit cautious."
John Gurdon was skeptical on hearing that he had won for his work on cloning frogs.

"I thought it was some friends, initially. But I don't have friends that have a really good Swedish accent, so then I started believing it."
Voice analysis helps Brian Kobilka, who works on the chemistry of cell receptors, digest that call from Sweden.

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"I was walking in the street with my wife. I was just caught by … the call on my cellular phone. I saw the code '46' for Sweden … I could not believe it."
Quantum physicist Serge Haroche realizes that phone numbers can provide a useful reality check.

"When I started doing my work 40 years ago, there was still huge skepticism as to whether things like receptors really existed."
Robert Lefkowitz on how his field has changed—in no small part because of his own cell-receptor discoveries.

"I started my career as a surgeon 25 years ago. But it turned out that I am not talented as a surgeon, so I decided to change my career. But I still feel that I am a doctor. So my goal, all my life, is to bring this stem-cell technology to the bedside."
Medical aspirations still loom large in the mind of Shinya Yamanaka, recognized for his work on stem cells.

"If you were to ask me what was the application, I would tell you I don't know."
Serge Haroche explains how his work is driven by the chance to explore fundamental principles.

"I'm fortunate, of course, to survive long enough to have this amazing honor."
John Gurdon reflects on the 50-year interval between his award and the work for which he won it.

"I'm not looking forward to that at all."
The prospect of a post-Nobel deluge of media attention fails to excite Brian Kobilka.

This article originally appeared in New Scientist.

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