Virtual Nobel Prize award ceremony for 2nd time due to Covid

Stockholm: In the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Nobel Prize award ceremony was streamed online for a second time in a row from Stockholm’s City Hall.

The Laureates received their awards respectively at their homes, and their prize-awarding videos were streamed on Friday evening at the ceremony, reports Xinhua news agency.

Around 300 guests and the Swedish royal family were present at the Blue Hall in the Stockholm City Hall paying tribute to this year’s Nobel Laureates, with no one seen wearing face masks on site.

This years’ laureates are Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi (physics); Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan (chemistry); David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian (physiology or medicine); Abdulrazak Gurnah (literature); and David Card, Joshua D. Angrist and Guido W. Imbens (economics).

“The ongoing coronavirus pandemic still affects our lives in a profound manner,” Carl-Henrik Heldin, chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation said in his opening address.

He emphasises that the current challenge is “to build trust in science and to communicate science in a way that resonates with us as human beings, with all our fears and doubts.”

“This year’s Nobel Prizes draw attention to several of the issues facing humanity,” Heldin said, highlighting, for example, “that climate change is not a political opinion – it is scientific facts,” and that “global problems can only be solved by global collaboration carried out in good faith”.

He said under the current pandemic, science and scientists have been extremely successful in making effective vaccines in record time, but equitably sharing the results of science has often proven to be much more difficult.

“Now we have to make the vaccines – and the knowledge of how important they are – reach all people, in all countries,” he said.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Nobel Banquet in Stockholm City Hall was cancelled. Nobel Prizes have been presented annually since 1901. The winners are announced in October each year.