When the Swedish King Karl Gustaf turned 50 years he created the ‘Konung Carl XVI Gustafs 50-årsfond för vetenskap, teknik och miljö’. The Foundations purpose is to promote research, technological development and entrepreneurship, which contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation. Every year since then, between 15-20 young scientists receive this award for their scientific accomplishments and are invited to meet the King at his Royal Palace in Stockholm. I was one of the 16 receivers of the award in 2013 and travelled to Stockholm on the 27th of May to receive my award certificate, money and to shake the hands of the King. We were all greeted by the secretary of the foundation, were seated alphabetically and then got a short lecture about etiquette. We learned to address the King as ‘your majesty’ or ‘your excellence’ and to not turn our backs to the king.
Then the king arrived and we all stood up to greet him. The secretary called our name alphabetical order, and read out a summary of our scientific achievements and how much money was awarded to us. We had to stand up during the 3-4 minutes that it took for the secretary to give all the details.
Once all awardees were introduced, the king addresses us and said (among other things): "Ni jobbar med viktiga frågor som kan göra skillnad i framtiden. Stipendiet är en uppmuntran att fortsätta ert fantastiska arbete."
Me and Karl, at the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace.
As scientists, it is not every day that our science is honoured in a special way, and so it was nice to feel special for once. Then we got to shake the hand of the King and received our certificate and cheque.
Once we had all received our awards, the royal guest professor Nancy Langston from Wisconsin, who spent the last 9 month at Umeå University, gave a guest lecture entitled "Toxic fish - a history". Professor Nancy Langston is a leader in the international emerging field of environmental history. Afterwards, we all got to mingle with a glass of champagne which gave us the opportunity to get to know the other awardees.
I took the train back home after the ceremony and felt exhausted but happy. I am glad I went to Stockholm and got to experience this.