Nobel Conference

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The Nobel Conference is the first ongoing academic conference in the United States to have the official authorization of the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. It is held annually at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota and links a general audience with the world's foremost scholars and researchers in conversations centered on contemporary issues related to the natural and social sciences.


Gustavus Adolphus College was founded by Swedish immigrants in 1862 and throughout its history, it has continued to honor its Swedish heritage. As the College prepared to build a new science hall in the early 1960s, College officials asked the Nobel Foundation for permission to name the building the Alfred Nobel Hall of Science as a memorial to the great Swedish inventor and philanthropist. Permission was granted, and the facility's dedication ceremony in 1963 included 26 Nobel laureates and officials from the Nobel Foundation.

Following the 1963 Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm, College representatives met with Nobel Foundation officials, asking them to endorse an annual science conference at the College and to allow use of the Nobel name to establish credibility and high standards. At the urging of several prominent Nobel laureates, the foundation granted the request and the first conference was held at the College in January 1965.

For four and a half decades, world-class research scientists and scholars have come together to discuss leading topics in science with audiences of thousands. The goal of the conference is to bring cutting-edge science issues to the attention of an audience of students and interested adults, and to engage the panelists and the audience in a discussion of the moral and societal impact of these issues. Another major goal of the conference is to attract world class speakers. Beginning with the help of an advisory committee composed of Nobel laureates such as Glenn Seaborg, Philip Showalter Hench, and Sir John Eccles, the conferences have been consistently successful in attracting the world's foremost authorities as speakers. Fifty-nine Nobel laureates have served as speakers, five of whom were awarded the prize after speaking at the conferences.

The conference has a focus on scientific topics such as "Medicine: Prescription for Tomorrow" (2006), "The Legacy of Einstein" (2005), "The Science of Aging" (2004), "The Nature of Nurture" (2002), "Virus: The Human Connection" (1998), and "The New Shape of Matter: Materials Challenge Science" (1995). The conference is open to the public and geared toward lay persons.


The 2013 Nobel conference was titled "The Universe at Its Limits" and took place October 1-2, 2013.

Lecturers included:

  • George V. Coyne, S.J., Ph.D
  • Alexei V. Filippenko, Ph.D.
  • S. James Gates Jr., Ph.D.
  • Lawrence M. Krauss, Ph.D.
  • Tara Shears, Ph.D.
  • George F. Smoot III, Ph.D.
  • Frank A. Wilczek, Ph.D

Past conferences[edit]


  • 2013 - The Universe at its Limits
  • 2012 - Our Global Ocean
  • 2011 - The Brain and Being Human
  • 2010 - Making Food Good






External links[edit]

  • Nobel Conference official website
  • Archival finding aid for the collection Nobel Conference. Nobel Conference Collection, 1965-Ongoing. GACA Collection 92. Gustavus Adolphus College Archives, St. Peter, Minnesota.[1]