Hamid Reza Razzaghian - Student life and Nobel festivities

Hamid Reza Razzaghian is a Master student within Molecular Cell Biology at Uppsala University. In 2006 he had the opportunity to participate in the Nobel Prize festivities in Stockholm. (Each year, 200 student tickets to the Nobel Prize festivities are distributed to students at Swedish universities through a lottery draw.) This is his story about student life at Uppsala University and the Nobel banquet:

Uppsala University is the oldest university in Scandinavia, with a high ranking at the world universities ranking lists. At Uppsala University you can find the most updated technology and make yourself ready for a successful career in near future. Besides great facilities and famous professors you will experience a thriving student life where you can share your ideas and opinions with students from all around the world. There are lots of student organizations here and nations are on the top of them. Nations are non-profit organizations managed by students for students, in which you can find pubs, join sport clubs or attend music training classes and many more activities.

You will experience lots of fun in the events that relates to student life in Uppsala. On the top of these events, Valborg is shining. Every year on 30th of April, the students in Uppsala gather to celebrate the oncoming of spring and pass all of the day in party mood. Some weeks before Valborg a lot of students start to build their own boats for the boat show in the Valborg morning. Valborg starts with a breakfast of strawberries with champagne. Afterwards students gather around the Fyris River in the city to look at the boats (that all differ in shape and size) while their riders struggle to pass the waterfalls. The day continues with picnic. Then, champagne gallop will be held in all of the nations where people will be sprayed with champagne. The day ends with parties in all of the nations in the evening.

Every year almost all the Nobel Prize laureates give public speeches at Uppsala University. Besides, while you are studying in Uppsala University, you may have the chance to attend the most prestigious and sophisticated scientific event in the world with the majesties of Sweden, the Nobel Prize ceremony on 10th of December every year. The ceremony consists of two parts; first part is the banquet, which is held in the Blue Hall of Stockholm City Hall and from 6 o’clock in the evening until midnight. The second part is nightcap, which in 2006 was held in Stockholm School of Economics (I’m not sure if every year is in the same place) from midnight until 5 in the morning.

In order to enter the ceremony, men should wear a formal dress called frack and ladies should be clad in evening gown. Upon entrance you will receive a 74-page booklet, which shows the seat location of the 1300 guests in the ceremony according to the table numbers. All of the tables were set in the most luxurious way and what a surprise that the language of menu is French.

The ceremony starts by toast to the honour of Alfred Nobel by his Majesty the king. Then it continues with pre-dish, main dish and dessert with different kinds of red and white wine. Between each dish, expert dancers show different kinds of dance and entertainment. To serve the whole guests, 50 chefs and 200 waiters and waitresses are present in the ceremony.

The banquet continues with dance in the top floor of the Blue Hall with a live band. The point is that while dancing you can observe that a selection of the most knowledgeable people of the world are dancing next to you in a splendid ceremony. From midnight and during one hour a lot of busses transferred the guests to Stockholm School of Economics (in 2006) for the nightcap. Once the busses reach the destination, some students will come to accompany you from the bus to the nightcap place. Stockholm School of Economics was a 3-floor building with different parts in each floor.

Each floor consisted of different rooms with flashing light mixtures and its own specific drinks. In the nightcap, all different kinds of drinks with the best quality are available based upon your order to the bar attender, for free. Moreover you can drink original French champagne for free. There are also some entertainments like magic and fire show for the guests. Dance clubs in the nightcap are the places that made this night unforgettable.

By Hamid Reza Razzaghian, master program student in Molecular Cell Biology at Uppsala University, who attended the Nobel Prize ceremony on 10th of December 2006