Prof. Shinya Yamanaka, who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, attended a spectacular Nobel banquet with his wife and other family members Monday evening.
About 1,300 guests were invited to the formal gala to honor the Nobel prize winners, held at the Blue Hall on the first floor of Stockholm City Hall.
As a fanfare sounded, Yamanaka–wearing the Order of Culture–entered the venue with a radiant expression as he walked with Princess Madeleine, 30.
Yamanaka, 50, sat at the Table of Honor in the center of the hall with King Carl XVI Gustaf, 66, and other members of the Swedish royal family and guests.
Next to Yamanaka was the princess, while Prince Carl Philip, 33, was seated next to Yamanaka’s wife, Chika, who sat in front of her husband. The couple enjoyed a conversation over dinner with the young royal family members.
Shinya Yamanaka of Japan and John B. Gurdon of Britain won the Nobel Medicine Prize on Monday for their groundbreaking work on stem cells, the jury said.
The pair were honoured “for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent,” it said. The two discovered “that mature, specialised cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body,” it said. By reprogramming human cells, “scientists have created new opportunities to study diseases and develop methods for diagnosis and therapy,” the Nobel committee said.
Gurdon is currently at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, while Yamanaka is a professor at Kyoto University in Japan. Because of the economic crisis, the Nobel Foundation has slashed the prize sum to eight million Swedish kronor ($1.2 million, 930,000 euros) per award, down from the 10 million kronor awarded since 2001.
Last year, the honour went to Bruce Beutler of the United States, Jules Hoffmann of Luxembourg and Ralph Steinman of Canada, for their groundbreaking work on the immune system.
This year’s laureates will receive their prize at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.
Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe urged Japan’s new prime minister on Tuesday to halt plans to restart nuclear power plants and instead abandon nuclear energy.
Oe cautioned Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda against prioritizing the economy over safety. Noda has said he will allow idled nuclear plants to resume operation when their safety is confirmed.
"The new prime minister seems to think that nuclear power plants are necessary for Japan’s economy, and how to resume their operation is one of his key political agendas," Oe said. "We must make a big decision to abolish all nuclear plants."