Nobel Prize winner Ivar Giaever told the 2008 Beijing Nobel Laureates Forum that the basic laws of nature were known, and scientists should concentrate on invention. In a busy day, he also told middle school students that his 1973 Nobel Prize for Physics was due to luck and hard work.
Speech: The Nobel Prize and the Future of Science
Professor Ivar Giaever from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA, spoke on the theme The Nobel Prize and the Future of Science at a forum on Information and Innovation Strategy held in the Great Hall of the People on November 11, 2008.
Professor Giaever made the closing address to the "Forum on Information and Innovation Strategy" held on November 11 in the Great Hall of the People, on the theme of The Nobel Prize and the Future of Science.
He said a paradigm shift was taking place in science. "The main activity is moving from basic science towards applied science." The most important thing is not to discover new laws of nature but to make new inventions. The number of scientific laws is finite, but potential inventions are limitless.
As for how to win a Nobel Prize, Professor Giaever said you need two things: a good idea and, just as important, the determination to pursue it effectively.
Meeting at Beijing Sanfan Middle School
A student welcomes Nobel Laureate Professor Ivar Giaever to Beijing Sanfan Middle School on the afternoon of November 11, 2008.
With his opening remarks "How on earth did a simple mechanical engineer like me end up winning a Nobel Prize?" Professor Giaever immediately put the students of Beijing Sanfan Middle School at ease, when he spoke to them on the afternoon of November 11. When he answered his own question "The essential ingredient is luck," the teachers and students burst out laughing. His self-deprecating and humorous style of speaking won over the audience.
"If you want to be successful, you have to work very hard," the professor emphasized several times with a kindly voice. The lively and exciting gathering was more like a chat between a grandfather and his grandchildren than a meeting with a distinguished scientist. The professor told his story, and the children listened and asked questions.
Afterwards a student called Gao Ge said excitedly, "For me it was a dream come true to meet a Nobel Prize winner."
There were ten students from Singapore in the audience, exchange students from the Victoria School and the Cedar Girls' Secondary School. "It was so lucky to get the chance to meet a Nobel Prize winner face-to-face. The trip to China has been really great," one boy said.
One of the teachers said students at this age are curious about everything. "A face-to-face meeting with a Nobel Prize winner can really inspire them to take an interest in science and innovation."
Students from Beijing Sanfan Middle School display gifts they have made for Nobel Laureate Professor Ivar Giaever.