[This post was restored from a WayBackWhen archive. It was originally posted to a blog called ‘The Gene Gym” that began life on the Nature Network in 2010, and then moved to Spekrum’s SciLogs platform. Unfortunately many of the original images have not survived the import]
It’s amazing how far you can travel internationally before smelling fresh non-air conditioned air. I arrived at Arlanda airport – 50 km North of Stockholm – in the late afternoon, and was immediately siphoned into the familiar human corral of border security that is facsimiled the world over. The fastest route from the airport to the city centre is via the Arlanda Express, a name that evokes a surety of function that I’m willing to accept as a factual statement in this very modern Scandinavian country. Sure enough, in a mere 20 minutes I am delivered to Stockholm central station and can make my bid for the open air; yet emerging into a fog of -9C air was probably rather more fresh than I’d anticipated. Stockholm is seasonably festooned with lights, which twinkle in the crystalline cold and cast their light on streets paved with a compaction of snow, sand and salt, giving the consistency of gingerbread dough.
I’ve arrived in a city that must be full of Nobel Laureates right now, enjoying some of the pomp and ceremony of Nobel week festivities ahead of the prize givings on Monday 10th December, and indeed some of whom will be at the Nobel Week Dialogue tomorrow. This is after all why I’m here, and yet what the dialogue will bring I’m not sure. There is certainly the potential for great content, but it will depend very much on the moderation. It’s going to to be an intriguing one to blog about, not least because the format and frequency of blog has not been established, because we don’t know quite how the panel sessions will run. With any luck key themes-within-a-theme will emerge and provide a narrative for content.
I’m only here for a short time, so I’m going to make every effort to capture something of the delights on offer. I’ve cross-posted an interview I had with Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, a very talented scientist whose research output and current roles are prodigious. I hope to cover more of her work in the future. There will be more cross-posting in the coming days, but in the meanwhile I leave you with a first image of Norra Bantorget square, Stockholm.