The Nobel Conference is an academic conference held annually at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Founded in 1963, the conference 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. It is the first ongoing academic conference in the United States to have the official authorization of the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden.
Gustavus Adolphus College was founded by Swedish immigrants in 1862 and throughout its history, 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, to engage the panelists and the audience in a discussion of the moral and societal impact of these issues, and to continue 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 Noble prize after speaking at the Noble conference at Gustavus.
The Noble 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 social sciences are also well represented and many topics are interdisciplinary; focusing on economics, politics, the social sciences and philosophy. For example, the 2016 Nobel Conference: In Search of Economic Balance brought economists from around the world to discuss the challenges facing real world implementation of economic theories.
The Noble conference is open to the general public.
The 2017 Nobel Conference is titled "Reproductive Technology: How Far Do We Go?" and took place October 3–4, 2017 in Saint Peter, Minnesota at Gustavus Adolphus College.
- Jad Abumrad, founder and co-host of Radiolab.
- Alison Murdoch, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at Newcastle University, past member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics; one of the first people in the world to have been granted approval to clone human embryos for the purpose of research.
- Ruha Benjamin, Sociologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University.
- Diana Blithe, program director for the Male Contraceptive Development Program at the National Institutes of Health.
- Charis Thompson, Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science.
- Jacob Corn, Scientific Director of the Innovative Genomics Institute.
- Marsha Saxton, director of research and training at the World Institute on Disability.
Past conferences 2010's
2016 - In Search of Economic Balance
- Dan Ariely, Ph.D, Behavioral Economist and chief behavioral economist for Qapital.
- Paul Collier, Ph.D, British Economist, director of the International Growth Centre, and former director of the Development Research Group of the World Bank
- Deirdre McCloskey, Ph.D, Economic Historian
- Orley Ashenfelter, Ph.D, Economist, former director of the Office of Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Labor and professor of economics at Princeton University
- Joerg Rieger, Ph.D, Theologian
- John A. List, Ph.D, Economist, Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago.
- Chris Farrell, Economic Journalist and economics editor for Marketplace Money on American Public Media.
2015 - Addiction: Exploring the Science and Experience of an Equal Opportunity Condition
- Owen Flanagan, Ph.D, James B. Duke Professor and Faculty Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University
- Eric R. Kandel, MD, Neuropsychiatrist and 2000 Nobel laureate in physiology and medicine
- Carl Hart, Ph.D, Neuroscientist
- Denise Kandel, Ph.D, Medical sociologist
- Marc David Lewis, Ph.D, Developmental neuroscientist
- John A. List, Ph.D, Economist
- Sheigla B. Murphy, Ph.D, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Studies at the Institute for Scientific Analysis
2014 - Where does Science Go from Here?
- Steven Weinberg, Ph.D, Theoretical physicist and 1979 Nobel laureate in physics
- Sir Harold W. Kroto, Ph.D, 1996 Nobel laureate in chemistry
- Steven Chu, Ph.D, 12th United States Secretary of Energy and 1997 Nobel laureate in physics
- Antonio Damasio, MD, PhD, Neuroscientist and head of the Brain and Creativity Institute
- Harry B. Gray, PhD, Electron transfer (ET) chemist
- Freeman Dyson, FRS, Theoretical physicist and mathematician
- Patricia Smith Churchland, Neurophilosopher
2013 - The Universe at its Limits
- Frank A. Wilczek, Ph.D, American theoretical physicist, Mathematician, 2004 Nobel laureate in physics, discovered time crystal in 2012.
- Samuel C.C. Ting, Ph.D, American theoretical physicist and 1976 Nobel laureate in physics for discovering the subatomic J/ψ particle.
- George F. Smoot III, Ph.D, 2006 Nobel laureate in physics
- Alexei V. Filippenko, Ph.D, American astrophysicist on supernovae and active galaxies at optical, ultraviolet, and near-infrared wavelengths.
- S. James Gates Jr., Ph.D, theoretical physicist known for work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory.
- Lawrence M. Krauss, Ph.D, American-Canadian theoretical physicist and cosmologist
- Tara G. Shears, Ph.D, Physicist
Other past Noble Conferences include:
- 2012 - Our Global Ocean
- 2011 - The Brain and Being Human
- 2010 - Making Food Good
- 2009 - H2O Uncertain Resource
- 2008 - Who Were the First Humans?
- 2007 - Heating Up: The Energy Debate
- 2006 - Medicine: Prescription for Tomorrow
- 2005 - The Legacy of Einstein
- 2004 - The Science of Aging
- 2003 - The Story of Life
- 2002 - The Nature of Nurture
- 2001 - What is still to be discovered?
2000 - Globalization 2000: Economic Prospects and Challenges
- Robert A. Mundell, Ph.D, Economist and 1999 Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
- Joseph Stiglitz, Ph.D, former Chief Economist of the World Bank and recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001
- Jeffrey D. Sachs, PH.D, Economist, since 2017 serves as special adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
- Jagdish Natwarlal Bhagwati, PH.D, Economist
- Amitai Etzioni, PH.D, former senior adviser to the White House.
- 1999 - Genetics in the New Millennium
- 1998 - Virus: The Human Connection
- 1997 - Unveiling the Solar System: 30 Years of Exploration
- 1996 - Apes at the End of an Age: Primate Language and Behavior in the '90s
- 1995 - The New Shape of Matter: Materials Challenge Science
- 1994 - Unlocking the Brain: Progress in Neuroscience
- 1993 - Nature Out of Balance: The New Ecology
- 1992 - Immunity: The Battle Within
- 1991 - The Evolving Cosmos
- 1990 - Chaos: The New Science
- 1989 - The End of Science?
- 1988 - The Restless Earth
- 1987 - Evolution of Sex
- 1986 - The Legacy of Keynes
- 1985 - The Impact of Science on Society
- 1984 - How We Know: The Inner Frontiers of Cognitive Science
- 1983 - Manipulating Life
- 1982 - Darwin's Legacy
- 1981 - The Place of Mind in Nature
- 1980 - The Aesthetic Dimension of Science
- 1979 - The Future of the Market Economy
- 1978 - Global Resources: Perspectives and Alternatives
- 1977 - The Nature of Life
- 1976 - The Nature of the Physical Universe
- 1975 - The Future of Science
- 1974 - The Quest for Peace
- 1973 - The Destiny of Women
- 1972 - The End of Life
- 1971 - Shaping the Future
- 1970 - Creativity
- 1969 - Communication
- 1968 - The Uniqueness of Man
- 1967 - The Human Mind
- 1966 - The Control of the Environment
- 1965 - Genetics and the Future of Man