Sara Strandberg Photo: Alexander Mahmoud/Nobel Center

Academy member Sara Strandberg, Particle physicist. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud/Nobel Center

Nobel panel discussed the nature of good questions

Young Academy of Sweden’s member Sara Strandberg and Scientific Patron Torsten Wiesel, Nobel Medicine awardee, participated in the panel talk How to ask a question arranged by Nobel Center at Kulturhuset, Stockholm on 13 September.

On the panel were also Chemistry laureate Rod MacKinnon and Karolinska Institutet’s new Chancellor, Professor Ole Petter Ottersen. Torsten Wiesel moderated the panel, which offered a joyous conversation. Ole Petter Ottersen confessed that a rather stupid question had led him into his research career. Sara Strandberg told how she as a veterinary student found herself pondering questions like: what would happen if you fell into a black hole? This eventually led her to pursue a career as a particle physicist instead. She also highlightened that she appreciates being part of a large collective (e.g. at CERN), cooperating to answer complex questions: “I think it is fantastic to be one out of 3,000 people that can achieve something together that is much bigger than I could do on my own. We make a pattern together.” Rod MacKinnon’s groundbreaking research did not start with the perfect question, he admitted, but eventually it proved to be of great importance for our understanding of many diseases of e.g. heart, muscles and nervous system. Several members of the panel stressed the importance of curiosity as a driving force in their research, and to allow for a bit of serendipity. The panel concluded that the questions that we get excited about are the best. Nobel Center External link, opens in new window. hosted the event.

1. Torsten Wiesel 2. Sara Strandberg, Ole Petter Ottersen and Rod MacKinnon 3. The panel. Photo: AlexanderMahmoud/Nobel Center

More information

How to ask a question

Rod MacKinnon Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2003 External link, opens in new window.

Torsten Wiesel Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1981 External link, opens in new window.

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