Fred's World of Science: Nobel Trip
At the 44th International Science and Engineering Fair, I placed first in physics. I also won the Glen T. Seaborg award, the overall grand prize. The Seaborg prize is awarded to two winners from the fair. The prize is an all expenses paid, week long trip to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden. The trip to Stockholm is a part of the SIYSS program, which is held each year. Twenty-five young scientists are chosen from around the world to participate in the week-long event. The SIYSS group went to all the lectures, concerts, tours, etc. that lead up to the ceremony itself. But, the SIYSS group is not only about the Nobel ceremony. The SIYSS group gets to meet Swedish scientists and experience Swedish culture.
More information about the SIYSS progam and group
This is the SIYSS logo. We each got rugby shirts with the logo.
Here is Dr. George Olah, the Nobel laureate in Chemistry in 1994. Dr. Olah's Nobel speech was one of the most entertaining of all the laureates' talks. Dr. Olah thanked his graduate students, siting all their hard work. Dr. Olah's work concerned the discovery and classification of carbocations. Carbocations are a very important building block of modern organic chemistry. Without his work, organic chemistry as we know it today would not the the same.
Pictured here is Prof. Clifford Shull, one of the two laureates in Physics
in 1994, and myself. Shull's work was completed in the mid 1950's with
elastic neutron scattering. Using neutrons from a research reactor, Shull
was able to probe the structure of matter with neutron scattering. Prof.
Brockhouse, the other laureate also used neutrons for scattering.
[Back up to top]
[Back up to top]
The city itself is very pretty. It is always interesting to see such rich history every place you go. Many of the streets are cobblestone, and many of the buildings are very old. At the same time, there are parts of Stockholm that look as new and modern as Chicago or New York. In the older sections of the city, the streets are lined with little boutiques and groceries. After several days of odd Swedish foods and nothing but something they all told me was "Christmas Cola," I was almost desparate for something American in nature.
I went to a little corner shop, not far from Kungstragarten (s/p?) in search of Coke and something to eat. I resisted the all too familiar draw of the Golden Arches of McDonalds; I would save that for another day. While I was in the shop, I looked for twenty minutes, trying to decipher the labels. I succeeded in finding a Coke. It was something like 12SK, which was almost $2 for 12oz. I sprung for it though, as I knew that night's dinner was going to include a buffet with several types of pickled herring. I looked around for a candy bar, thinking it would be the easiest thing to identify. Silly me. I found a Toblerone bar, one of the few things I recognized immediately in the store. Amusingly, the Tobler bar was only 5SK, or ~$.75. Funny how the prices are almost exactly reversed here.
Anyway, I got to the counter, and greeted the cashier with some phrase
taught to me by a friend of mine there. She repeated the last part of the
phrase, and began ringing up my order. I gave her 20SK in two 10SK bills.
She immediately said something to the girl behind her and then began speaking
to me. She said something, shaking her head. I figured I had not paid enough,
as if I had somehow misunderstood the currency. So I reached in my pocket
and pulled out another 10SK bill, held it out, and looked at her inquisitively.
She started laughing, as did almost everyone else in the store. She then
explained in perfect English that she just wanted exact change, and had
assumed I could speak Swedish. Nevertheless, I was a bit embarassed.
[Back up to top]
Or if you really want to go there... U of M Physics
The U of M home page