PhotoKyoko Kumagai
Sophia University

I spent the "Nobel Week" in Sweden from December 4-10, as one of the Japanese participants in the SIYSS (Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar) of 2005. Here, I'd like to write about the great experience that I had, and the things I've learned or got through this occasion.

During the week, we were unbelievably busy, but we had wonderful days not only with the formal events such as the press conference for the medicine and physiology laureates, the Nobel lectures and the Prize Award Ceremony, but also with the study tours of museums and research institutes--while also encountering members of the Swedish royal family. We visited about 3-4 places a day from 8 in the morning until late at night around ll pm. The sun rises for only 6 hours a day at that time of year, and it is often cloudy. That's why it was difficult to take nice photos there. Instead, there were beautiful Christmas illuminations on every street and in the windows. We also enjoyed the traditional Swedish sauna and their cuisine.

During this time--we were 25 participants from 16 countries--I could experience the culture and the ways of thinking of nations which we seldom have contact with, such as South Africa and Serbia and so on. Though the other students were mostly 18-20 years old, they all had their fields of major studies and their research projects, and they had the language skills necessary to make presentations about their work in English. Noting this, I could see my own research objectively and fairly; on the other hand I found that I lacked skill in communication in comparison with other young scientists from around the world. My experience in Stockholm will be helpful for my research work in the future, I am sure.

On one particular day, we exchanged views with Swedish high school students on the topics of workshops and research presentations in the scientific field. I came to realize the high consciousness and fine environment of science studies in Sweden. All of these experiences were first-time occasions for me and they expanded my horizons as a Japanese engaged in science.

Attending many Nobel events, I observed that laureates were not given so very special treatment, instead all those invited to meet them just celebrated and praised them. At the press conference and at the reception, I was very impressed by the way the Nobel laureates answered all of the questions put to them by press people-- and from students as well. Dr. J.L. Hall, laureate in physics, and Prof. R.R.Schrock laureate in chemistry, talked to us directly about their research and how they put their hearts into the work; and Dr. J.R Warren, a laureate in medicine and physiology and some other scientists gladly talked about Japan with us. It was an honor for me, as one of the Japanese students involved, and I felt encouraged.

I especially appreciated the efforts of the 8 Swedish coordinators of the program. They were the ones who made up our hard but marvelous schedule, and made utmost efforts for us 25 students to enjoy everything. They take pride in and have responsibility for the "SIYSS" program, because it is so well-known in Sweden, and what is more there is active support for such scientific activities, which I think is great. To conclude: I express my gratitude again here to all those people who gave me such a valuable chance and supported me. I want to be one of those scientists who will contribute to the development of society and science. This precious experience made a deep impression on me.

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