Seven Nobel Prize winners participated in Universitat Rovira i Virgili’s chemistry days

From Sunday to Wednesday, the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), located in Tarragona, hosted a chemistry conference in order to discuss the latest discoveries in this discipline. Six chemistry Nobel Prize winners participated in the ‘Southern Catalonia Nobel Campus’, as well as Finn Kydland, who won the Nobel Prize of Economics in 2004. Kydland gave the opening speech. The chemistry days took place at the PortAventura conference centre, located next to the Costa Daurada amusement park.


July 5, 2012 01:04 AM

Tarragona (ACN).- The Catalan Rovira i Virgili University (URV) got together seven Nobel Prize winners to participate, from Sunday to Wednesday, in its ‘Southern Catalonia Nobel Campus’. It is the first edition of this event, which this year discusses the latest discoveries in chemistry. The key note speech was delivered by the Norwegian economist, Finn E. Kydland, who received the Nobel Prize of Economics in 2004. Around a hundred young researchers from throughout Europe participated  in this four-day conference, together with six winners of the Nobel Prize of Chemistry: Sidney Altman, Ryôji Noyori, K. Barry Sharpless, Aaron Ciechanover, Richard R. Schorck and Ada E. Yonath. The event’s inauguration took place in the Catalonia Campus of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in Tarragona, but the main part of the meetings were held in PortAventura’s conference centre, located next to the Costa Daurada amusement park.

Kydland’s key note speech at the event’s opening ceremony discussed the factors that make some nations grow and others not, factors related to economic stability and independent central banks. Kydland offered a global view, without entering into specifics about Spain or the Eurozone. The Nobel Prize winner was clear concluding his speech: “There is already enough uncertainty in the word as it is; having additional uncertainty from governments can only be bad”. After the speech, Kydland talked to ACN and stated that politicians should be responsible for taking long-term decisions, and not rely on short-term results. Kydland supported the banking bailout if the banks fulfil their role to give loans and contribute to industrial wealth. He also supported an increase in VAT in Spain. “In Norway we have 24% VAT, although I do not advise having such a high rate”, said Kydland, laughing.

This edition’s motto is ‘Chemistry for life’. Besides the six Nobel winners, Sidney Altman, Ryôji Noyori, K. Barry Sharpless, Aaron Ciechanover, Richard R. Schorck and Ada E. Yonath, young researchers and high-level scientists working in research centres and in private company R&D labs participated. They discussed  the interactions between chemistry and energy as well as chemistry and health. They also talked about innovation and the latest scientific discoveries.

From Monday to Wednesday there were  a total of 17 conferences, workshops and round tables, combining pedagogical events with other more specialised events. The aim of URV’s Southern Catalonia Nobel Campus is to create a continuous interaction between Nobel laureates and the 95 young researchers who participated in this edition, as well as the other 250 registered participants. URV’s President, Francesc Xavier Grau, explained that this event has been possible thanks to the grant received from the Spanish Education Ministry funding Excellence in University Campuses. Grau explained that, if the financial situation allows, the event will also take place next year. If there is not enough money, the event will be held only every two years.