I was there and I want to tell you all about it!
I wish that was completely true. I was there but through the TV only.
The ceremony is shown on Swedish TV and for the first time I watched almost the entire thing. It all starts with the handling of the prizes, with speeches from the head of each committee. The prizes are handed by the Swedish king himself, who is a relaxed funny person. Protocol exists, but it's not a big thing if one of the laureates forgets in which order to nod (king, Swedish academy and then the audience). After the ceremony comes the long awaited banquet, which lasts for about 4h and counts with music moments in between dishes, and ends with the laureates speeches. The whole day ends with the ball where everybody is finally able to relax and enjoy themselves.
|Photo from nobelprize.org|
I don't know if it's because of my scientific background, but for me this is the best ceremony in the world, beating even the Oscars. Why is it so special? Because "normal" random people get to sit and talk with the king, queen, princesses and princes, living their own fairy tale for one day. Surely the laureates are incredible people as well, that's also why they are there, but I also know that most academics live a simple life, among books, students and scientific discussions. The, suddenly one day, they get to seat among two members of the royal family and have a long discussion with them about who knows what. That is all visible when you watch the dinner on TV. The laureates, yesterday all men, entered the room with one of the princesses or the queen hanging on their arm, while their wives entered the room holding the arm of a prince or the king. One of the wives was in fact Swedish, although her husband was not, and they have lived in US for years. For her it was even more special, as she had never dreamed of sharing time with the royal family, that she grew up hearing all about. A moment I particularly liked was the exit of the banquet. The wife that was paired with the king stood up, grabbed her purse, the dinner menu, her seat card and all she could take to remember that moment forever, and then happily grabbed the kings arm with a very big smile. That's the spirit of the Nobel Prize. The simplicity of the people that for one night get to live in a fairy tale.
|Photo from http://www.svenskdam.se/|
Closest are the king Karl Gustav, and the wife of the laureate Bernard Feringa, that is just behind, with the queen Sylvia. Behind them is the crown princess Victoria and the laureate
Most of all... I wish I could be there. Not necessary on the kings side, but behind a column of the magnificent blue room in the city hall in Stockholm, watching all this live.