A brand new type of meeting

What happens when a brain scientist, an artist and a Nobel Laureate meet to discuss the intelligence of the future?

Mattias Fyrenius knows. As managing director of Nobel Media, he and his colleagues have organised a series of international meetings, where the Nobel Prize is the starting point for a new type of dialogue between science and society. Students and decision-makers have held round-table talks and listened to lectures by Nobel Laureates and researchers on topics such as ageing, genetics and the future of learning.

Discussion during Nobel Week Dialogue in Gothenburg 2015 on the theme ”The Future of Intelligence”. At the photo you can see Nobel Laureate Michael Levitt togheter with Cynthia Breazeal and Dzulkifli Abdul Razak. Photo: Elin Bryngelsson /© Nobel Media AB

“We really believe in the power of talking, not just because we genuinely think that it brings us forward, but also because it is entertaining for the audience. May-Britt Moser (2014 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine) has claimed that you learn more when you have fun. There is a lot to be said for that.”

In recent years, Nobel Media has organised several of these seminars and conferences in different parts of the world, including Singapore, Tokyo, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Delhi.

“We have tried to create a brand new type of meeting. By inviting the world’s most interesting thinkers in various subject areas, we can work together to find both commitment and knowledge. This will bring the discussion, and eventually development, forward. Our new take on the old classic TV show ‘Nobel Minds’ comes in a modern version, and with a much greater impact.”

Every year, a one-day seminar is held in Stockholm or Gothenburg. The seminar is called the Nobel Week Dialogue and the focus is just that – dialogue. “These meetings really instil a feeling of hope that many of the major challenges facing the world today can be resolved if we work together. It will happen through inspiration and by sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas,” Fyrenius says.

The key to success is to bring together people with different experiences and competencies. The Nobel Prize’s unique combination of disciplines – science, literature and peace – makes it possible to highlight issues that are vital for our future.

What will be the difference when Stockholm gets its Nobel Center?
“We will be able to arrange these types of dialogues and meetings on a regular basis at the centre, while continuing to work globally,” Fyrenius says.

Will the centre bring opportunities that are lacking today?
“I believe so. The conversations that will take place on a daily basis, when scientists meet with students and tourists from around the world, for example, will inspire and get people involved. We can always learn something new, think a new thought and actually contribute to a better world. Just like the Nobel Laureates have done for over a hundred years.”