Arts, Culture & Media

Congratulations, you've won a Nobel Prize

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Credit: wikipedia

For the next several days, academics and scholars in a variety of fields may have a little trouble sleeping through the night. That's if they're hoping to get THE CALL from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.  

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

Typically, a Nobel Prize winner gets the call early in the morning... very early if the recipient is here in the US. 

And Staffan Normark might be the guy on the other end of the line.

He's with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and it's his job to call some of the recipients and tell them they've won a Nobel Prize. 

"We make a decision in the Academy usually in the morning," says Normark, "and then after that, we go into a separate room, me and the secretary, and then we make the phone calls."  

Normark says there are many reactions. "Some of the laureates just get completely silent," he says, or "if they are strolling around in Europe, they have to sit down on a bench and get some fresh air."

And if someone isn't home?

"What we do is, we are sending an email at the same time that he or she has been awarded the Nobel Prize. And then it becomes public a little bit later."

Normark says he enjoys it most when the laureate is expecting nothing. Then, he says, it's just a normal day somewhere for them with "a very, very unexpected call."

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