For many years it has been a tradition for Uppsala University to invite the year’s Nobel laureates to visit the University, and this year seven of them accepted the invitation. The December 13—St. Lucia Day—visit started with a reception hosted by Vice-Chancellor Anders Hallberg. The laureates were then taken to various campuses to deliver public lectures.

Oliver Smithies, one of this year’s Nobel laureates for medicine or physiology, visited the Biomedical Center together with his colleagues Sir Martin J. Evans and Mario R. Capecchi. Smithies addressed his lecture to the many students in the audience.

“I’m going to tell you about my 60 years in school,” he said and went on to mix stories of successful lab work with frank and humorous truths about the times things went wrong.

Oliver Smithies, Mario R. Capecchi, and Sir Martin J. Evans were awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology for their discovery of the principles for introducing specific modifications of genes in mice with the aid of embryonic stem cells. The three of them each made independent discoveries that could eventually be combined to enable the new technology.

Uppsala University has its own laboratory for producing so-called knock-out mice, other transgenetic mice, and embryonic stem cells for its own scientists and for research teams from other universities.

“It’s an honor to have a chance to visit such an important university,” said Sir Martin J. Evans, and expressed his thanks for having been invited to Uppsala.

The selected auditorium at the Ekonomikum was also filled beyond capacity when Eric S. Maskin and Roger B. Myerson held their lectures. Together with Leonid Hurwicz, they were awarded the 2007 Prize in Economic Science (in memory of Alfred Nobel) for having laid the groundwork for the theory of allocation mechanisms. Eric S. Maskin, who lectured on “Evolution and Repeated Games,” was asked by a student about the future perspectives for economics as a science.

“I believe in methodological pluralism. I myself work together with researchers from many different disciplines and don’t see economics from a single perspective, but rather multiple perspectives,” he said, as part of his answer.

The two laureates also maintained that today’s students need to encounter game theories and economic models at an early stage of their education so they can more readily understand the social interactions of various players.

The physics laureates also each gave a lecture at the Ångström Laboratory. Peter Grünberg lectured on “Layered Magnetic Structures in Research and Application” and Albert Fert spoke about “Recent Developments in Spintronics”.

The Nobel laureates concluded their visit with lunch at Uppsala Castle.

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