Science Festival at Medical Museion

Build-up to the Nobel - Will we get a new Niels Bohr? The Medical Museion and Politiken invited on September 23, 2023, to a new Science Festival.

A Day of Aha Experiences in Historical Settings
In the early 19th century, Nobel Prizes rained down on scientists who frequented the Royal Surgical Academy on Bredgade – what is now home to the Medical Museion. On September 23, Medical Museion, in collaboration with Politiken, invited people to celebrate science and research in anticipation of the Nobel Prize ceremony. The auditorium was filled with curious guests, past Nobel Prize winners – and perhaps future Nobel Prize winners.

Nobel Laureate Morten Meldal
The day’s program began with last year’s Nobel laureate in chemistry, Morten Meldal. He was interviewed on stage by Politiken journalist Nils Thorsen, and he talked about his discovery of click chemistry and how it feels to win the prestigious prize. When the phone rang from a Swedish number, Morten Meldal initially thought it was a prank call. When reality struck him, he had to keep the secret alone in his office for a whole hour until the prize was announced. 

Finsen, Krogh, and Bohr
Next, museum curator Anne Bernth Jensen took us back to the early 20th century. She talked about Nobel laureates Finsen, Krogh, and Bohr, and especially about all the people around them who played a role in their success. In the building on Bredgade, physician Niels Finsen worked and researched; he was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1903 for his research on treatment with ultraviolet light. Physiologist August Krogh also had his place on Bredgade and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1920 for discovering how the smallest blood vessels can open and close, thereby varying the amount of oxygen supplied to the body’s tissues. At the same time that the Medical Museion was once a workplace and research institution for doctors and physiologists, physicist Niels Bohr, son of a doctor, grew up in a part of the building. Niels Bohr received a Nobel Prize in 1922 for his quantum theory.

The Slimming Hormone that Changed the World
The first part of the day’s program concluded with a conversation between physician and professor Jens Juul Holst and Lasse Foghsgaard, science editor at Politiken. Jens Juul Holst was the one who discovered the gut hormone that made it possible to develop the much-talked-about weight loss medicine, Wegovy. He is speculated to be a possible winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine when they are announced on October 2, 2023.

Doctor Hedgehog
After a short coffee break, we welcomed Sofie Lund Rasmussen, Denmark’s only hedgehog researcher – also known as Doctor Hedgehog. In conversation with Lasse Foghsgaard, she talked about her passion for hedgehogs and how she collaborates with robot lawnmower manufacturers to develop machines that do not harm the declining population of these small, adorable animals.

Have You Spoken to Your Microbes Today?
Adam Bencard, a lecturer and researcher at the Medical Museion, talked about the trillions of microbes that live on and in our bodies. He discussed our symbiotic relationship and dependence on each other. The many bacteria, viruses, and fungi communicate with our organs, our immune system, our metabolism, and our brain.

Cosmic Traffic Accidents
The last part of the day featured neutron stars and explosions in a distant galaxy. The young astrophysicist Albert Sneppen was interviewed by Lasse Foghsgaard and talked about his research and the discovery of an unexpected galactic geometry that might help calculate the precise rate of expansion of the universe.

Photos: Christian Falck Wolff, Politiken.