Japanese physicists honoured at Nobel banquet

Japanese physicists honoured at Nobel banquet
Hiroshi Amano talks with Queen Silvia of Sweden, center, at the banquet.

STOCKHOLM - Tension gave way to smiles Wednesday evening as the three Japanese winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics attended a spectacular banquet after the award ceremony.

Meijo University Prof. Isamu Akasaki, 85; Nagoya University Prof. Hiroshi Amano, 54; and University of California, Santa Barbara Prof. Shuji Nakamura, 60, looked nervous at the ceremony but were able to smile in a more relaxed mood during the formal gala held at the Blue Hall on the first floor of Stockholm City Hall.

The three winners attended in the tailcoats they wore to the award ceremony, with Amano and Nakamura seated at the Table of Honor in the centre of the hall with King Carl XVI Gustaf, 68, and other members of the Swedish royal family.

Akasaki was seated at another table out of consideration for his health, and left the event a little early.

Amano sat next to Queen Silvia, 70, and enjoyed talking with her and communicating with gestures.

He told the press: "When I received the medal and the certificate, I was so nervous I couldn't think about anything. As the queen talked to me kindly at the banquet, I felt we could open up."

The wives of the three Nobel winners appeared in kimono, which drew attention at the venue.

Amano's wife Kasumi, 54, was clad in a bright yellow kimono and gold-coloured obi sash, which were purchased for the day's events.

"It suits him well. I've fallen for him all over again," Kasumi said about her husband's formal wear.

"At the unanimous applause [given to my husband at the award ceremony], I felt a lump in my throat," Akasaki's wife Ryoko, 81, said.

Nakamura's wife did not make a comment, and sought to refrain from participating in interviews.

Mariko Kida, a 31-year-old principal dancer with the Royal Swedish Ballet, performed at the banquet. Her dance expressed the passion and insecurity of youthful exploration, and fascinated the about 1,300 participants.

After the four-hour banquet, Amano and Nakamura had an audience with King Gustaf.

Though Nakamura told the press he wasn't particularly moved during the award ceremony, he cheerfully said that during his audience with the king, "I suggested to the king replacing candles and lights at the palace and the city hall with LEDs, and the king replied he would think about it."

Nobel banquet menu

Appetizers

Cream of cauliflower soup, mosaic of red king crab, peas and lemon pickled cauliflower florets

Main dishes

Spiced loin of red deer, carrot terrine, salt-baked golden beets, smoked pearl onions, potato puree and game jus

Dessert

Mousse and sorbet of wild dewberries from Gotland, saffron panna cotta and brown butter sponge cake

Drinks

Champagne, Chianti, Sauternes, coffee, black tea, cognac, Facile Punsch liqueur, mineral water

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