Among our prominent guests are:

 

Hiroshi Amano

Nobel Prize in Physics 2014 for developing the LED lamp.

In 2014 the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to three researchers who had worked on creating blue LED-light, one of them Hiroshi Amano. This invention was the result of groundbreaking work in electronics research – and it had tremendous practical implications. Blue diodes could be combined with red and green to produce white light. This led to the development of our now commonplace LED-lamps. These require less energy than regular light bulbs, which makes them more environmentally friendly. But they also contribute to socially sustainable development. Since they can be driven by batteries charged with solar power, they are very useful in parts of the world without a functioning electric grid. This is a clear example of a Nobel Prize that has changed the world ”for the benefit of humankind.”

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Beatrice Fihn from ICAN

Nobel Peace Prize 2017 for their work against nuclear weapons.

Beatrice Fihn is the executive director of ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), an international coalition made up of more than 500 member organizations from over 100 countries. Nuclear weapons are an existential threat to humankind, and yet they are not illegal. This is what ICAN struggles to change. They took part in drafting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which has been signed by 70 nations. The work is far from finished, not all signatories have ratified it and the nations which have nuclear weapons have not signed. The Nobel Peace Prize was both an acknowledgement to ICAN’s important work and a way to support their future struggle.

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Mario J. Molina

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1995 for discovering how freons damage the ozone layer.

The ozone in the atmosphere protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. However, certain gases called freons, can damage the ozone layer which leads to more radiation. Freons had many uses, including propellants in spray cans and refrigerants in refrigerators. That freons were causing this ’ozone hole’ was discovered by Mario Molina and his colleagues in the 1970s. The following years, they also worked towards limiting the use of freons. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol in 1987 the use of freons has declined, giving the ozone layer the chance to recover. Molina’s story shows that knowledge can lead to political action for the environment. Today, Molina is an outspoken advocate for action against climate change.

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Johan Rockström

The environmental scientist that made planetary boundaries understandable.

In order to deal with climate change, we need to know the facts and the risks but also be given the tools to act in constructive ways. Johan Rockström is a climate scientist who apart from his scientific work has also been active in explaining the causes and consequences of climate change to the public. 10 years ago he led the work on formulating the Planetary Boundaries-framework, which sets up a model for the limits in which we need to keep our environmental impact if we are to avoid catastrophic changes and disruptions. After working many years at the Stockolm Resilience Center, Rockström is currently the joint director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

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  • Hiroshi Amano. © Nobel Media AB. Photo: A. Mahmoud

  • © Nobel Media AB. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud.

  • Mario J. Molina. Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

  • Johan Rockström. © Stockholm Resilience Centre. Photo: M. Axelsson/Azote

  • Hiroshi Amano. © Nobel Media AB. Photo: A. Mahmoud

  • © Nobel Media AB. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud.

  • Mario J. Molina. Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

  • Johan Rockström. © Stockholm Resilience Centre. Photo: M. Axelsson/Azote