PhotoTakamasa Horiuchi
Wakayama Medical University

I went to Stockholm, Sweden for the Nobel Week from the 4th of December to the 10th of December, as a Japanese member of SIYSS. I would like to write about this wonderful experience and what I learned from it.

We had a very busy and exciting schedule. We first had a welcoming party on arrival day, and visited the Nobel Museum and the Institute of universities. We also met Crown Princess Victoria. During the Nobel Prize activities, we took part in a press conference, and attended Nobel Prize winners' lectures and the Nobel Prize ceremony.

24 students from 16 countries participated in SIYSS. There were students from countries like Uganda and South Africa whom I rarely have any opportunity to meet, so this chance to talk with them about their culture and way of thinking was an enriching experience. To my surprise, although most participants this year were younger than I, they confidently made presentations in English about their studies before the Swedish students. Some of them had their own research projects, for which they were chosen as members of SIYSS. Most of their projects were about problems in their own countries, such as environmental issues. Although they were young, I felt they had found their calling and were studying intently in their chosen fields. I was also impressed when they vigorously discussed their projects with each other at the welcoming party. After our presentations, we discussed constructing high-speed monorails with the Swedish high school students. This gave me the impression Swedish high school students’ interest in science is very strong and they live in an environment that encourages scientific awareness. If I had not taken part in SIYSS, I would have never experienced this.

What I liked most about SIYSS was asking questions to Nobel Prize winners, and participating in the Nobel Prize ceremony. Considering many famous people from all over the world were invited to the ceremony, which was all broadcasted on TV, the Nobel Prize is a very important international event. At the banquet, I enjoyed dancing and eating delicious dishes I had never tasted before. What impressed me most was that the Nobel Prize winners did not act as anybody special, but simply wanted to have a good time with all the participants. At the Nobel Museum, we met by chance the Nobel Prize winner in physics, and he was happy to talk to me. Also, at the press conference and the Nobel Foundation's reception, the Nobel Prize winners were happy to answer anybody's questions.

Although I had a very busy week, I enjoyed an experience I could not have had in daily life in Japan. I sincerely thank the coordinators for organizing this trip. Although in Sweden, SIYSS is very familiar with the people there and their point of view, there is a big difference in Sweden and Japan regarding attitude towards science. I think we should follow Sweden's example in supporting scientists. Finally, I wish to thank all the people who supported me and allowed me this wonderful experience. By the same token, I would like to use my experience to contribute to the better development of science in the future.

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