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Nobel Prize Conversations

Robert Wilson: Nobel Prize Conversations

“I guess I was halfway content with the idea that somehow I’d become an economist.” – 2020 Laureate in Economic Sciences Robert Wilson didn’t really see himself as an economist until he reached the age of 50. Hear Wilson speak about his journey to becoming an economist.


In this ‘Nobel Prize Conversations’ episode, Wilson also speaks about how he received the news about his Prize in Economic Sciences and the culture shock he experienced when he started to study at Harvard University. 

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  • Katalin Karikó: Nobel Prize Conversations

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    "I also thank the people who tried to make my life miserable – because they made me work harder and become more resilient." – Working harder and becoming more resilient seems to be the story of Nobel Prize laureate Katalin Karikós’s life. Despite facing a number of enormous challenges, she has never lost hope or focus. Instead she is convinced that it is better to focus on yourself and not to despair when life doesn’t go as planned.In our podcast conversation Karikó, our 2023 medicine laureate, shares some of her best practices for overcoming obstacles and never giving up. As an added bonus, she also gives us some insightful parenting advice.
  • Mario Molina: Encore presentation of Nobel Prize Talks

    50:04
    "I had decided as a child if it was possible to become a scientist and to do scientific research for a living that's what I wanted to do." – In this episode, we meet physical chemist Mario Molina who spent his life working on climate research. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1995 for his investigations into how CFC gases damage the ozone layer. Molina dedicated his life to reducing their use and advocating for ways in which we can reduce our impact on the Earth. Molina speaks about the report he chaired, 'What We Know', a paper which discussed climate change in an effort to inform the public and oppose those who deny climate change. He also speaks about his childhood and about how his interest in science was sparked. Your host is Adam Smith, Chief Scientific Officer at Nobel Prize Outreach.
  • Jody Williams: Encore presentation of Nobel Prize Talks

    50:20
    ”I have been fortunate to be able to live my life doing what I believe in. Not everybody has that fortune" In this podcast episode, peace activist Jody Williams tells us how she has tried to use the power that was given to her after being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. She is a strong advocate for working across organisations to solve global challenges such as banning nuclear weapons and eliminating the use of sexual violence in war. She also speaks about her work within the Nobel Women's Initiative, an organisation established by herself and other fellow female peace laureates. 
  • John Mather: Encore presentation of Nobel Prize Talks

    45:33
    ”I don't think it's my job or anybody's job to try to convince other people of the righteousness of my opinion. I think it's each person's job to figure out how they look at the world.” – This conversation with astrophysicist John Mather was recorded in 2014, where he speaks to Adam Smith about space and if we will be going to Mars in the future. Mather also shares good advice to young researchers on how to prioritise projects. The movie ’Gravity’ is another topic that comes up - how scientifically accurate is that movie? John Mather was awarded the Nobel Prize on Physics in 2006 for research that looked back at the infancy of the Universe and attempted to gain some understanding of the origin of galaxies and stars. 
  • Robert Shiller: Encore presentation of Nobel Prize Talks

    48:56
    ”Pursuing expertise doggedly can't be the goal for everyone because being specialised means losing some breadth of understanding. We need both kinds of people." – In this podcast episode recorded in 2014 economist Robert Shiller speaks about technology and the role he thinks it will have in the future. He also shares his best advice for young economists and what he thinks about teaching online courses to large audiences. Together with the Nobel Prize's Adam Smith, they also discuss stage fright, and how to overcome it.
  • Barry Marshall: Encore presentation of Nobel Prize Talks

    49:45
    ”I wasn't interested in learning stuff. I was just interested in understanding, because I could see what a fabulous shortcut it always was.” – Meet 2005 medicine laureate Barry Marshall in a dynamic talk with the Nobel Prize’s Adam Smith. Marshall tells us about his blog (something very few laureates had in 2005), his status as a yo-yo expert and his research that paved the way to a Nobel Prize. Self-experimentation is another topic that is up for discussion. Marshall takes us back to the moment he drank a bacterial culture of Helicobacter pylori to prove that gastric ulcers were caused by bacterial infections - it's a story you don't want to miss! This conversation was originally presented in February 2014.
  • Alice Munro: Encore presentation of Nobel Prize Talks

    46:10
    ”It's the insight, the work, the way you give yourself to the story that matters.” – We present a heartwarming chat with Canadian ’master of short stories’ and literature laureate Alice Munro. This conversation between the Nobel Prize’s Adam Smith and Munro took place soon after she was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. In the episode, she reflects on how she creates short stories, what these stories have meant to her and her readers and why she started writing. Munro also tells Smith what she hopes to achieve with her writing: conveying stories that resonate, as well as surprise, her readers.
  • Calling Claudia Goldin: 2023 economic sciences laureate

    06:46
    “I have always thought of myself as a detective,” 2023 economic sciences laureate Claudia Goldin tells the Nobel Prize's Adam Smith when speaking about her research: “The detective always believes there is a way of finding the answer!” Recorded shortly after the public announcement of her prize, this conversation begins with Goldin praising Professor Randi Hjalmarsson of the University of Gothenburg, who fielded questions at the prize press conference after Goldin was disconnected. Now an economic history detective, Goldin explains how she was first switched onto detecting by Paul de Kruif’s book ‘Microbe Hunters’, published in 1926, cited by many Nobel Prize laureates across the generations as an inspirational read.
  • Calling Jon Fosse: 2023 literature laureate

    08:13
    After the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature was announced, new laureate Jon Fosse was inundated with messages congratulating him on the award. In this call with the Nobel Prize’s Manisha Lalloo he speaks about one particular reader who told him that his work was “the reason she was still alive.” He also shares what writing means to him and his advice for aspiring writers.