The Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College, naturally.

Gustavus Adolphus was the king of Sweden and founder of the Swedish Empire from the age of seventeen until he his death at the age of 37, in 1632. He looked, as a testosterone-ridden teenager, at vast unconquered lands, at his large and experienced army, and noticing that he was in charge of everything, made a run at taking over the world. He left Sweden with his army and never looked back.

Meanwhile, well, a couple of centuries later, Alfred Nobel was busy inventing TNT and establishing the Nobel Prizes for this and that. Eventually, like chocolate and peanut butter fortuitously joining together to make Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, a small liberal arts college in southern Minnesota … Gustavus Adolphus College … and the Nobel Prize concept … have joined together to make an annual event called The Nobel Conference. This year, they are calling it “The 2008 Nobel Conference: Who were the first humans.”

And yours truly will be there, October 7-8.

Gustavus (the college) is the Alma Matter of Amanda, and she has taken her her high school biology students to the conference almost every year for a few years. This year, teaching at a new school, this has not been worked out. Rather, she’ll be taking the science faculty down. I will try to make myself scarce so she won’t have to explain anything to anybody, in case they run into me.

This year’s presenters include Robin Dunbar, Marcus Feldman, J. Wentzel van Huyssteen, Curtis Marean, Svante Paabo, and Dennis Stanford. Svante, sorry I’ve got not umlats over your a’s but I’m writing this in Movable Type. I’m sure you understand.

I have two good Curtis Marean stories. Someday maybe I will tell them on this very blog.

The web site for the conference is here.
Have a look, consider going!


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    September 19, 2008


  2. #2 Bob O'H
    September 19, 2008


  3. #3 Astrofys
    September 19, 2008

    I believe that, regarding his death, you are mistaking Gustavus Adolphus with Charles XII. Gustavus Adolphus became separated from his in the battle of L�tzen (his horse was too fast) and shot by an Imperial officer.

    Knew those history lessons in fifth grade would pay off someday…..

  4. #4 aaron armstrong
    September 19, 2008

    two good stories! i’ll be excavating at his site while he’s at the nobel conference! those stories must be produced!

  5. #5 Anne Gilbert
    September 19, 2008

    Well, Gustavus Adolphus played an important part in the Thiry Years’ War, and he was killed in that war. How, I don’t know. I don’t really know anything about the Thirty Years’ War, except that the Germans suffered the most from it.

    Charles XII was the adversary in “imperial” wars of — Peter the Great! Which made him almost a century later. I guess the Swedes had a bunch of ambitions. He got killed in what is now Ukraine, near a town the name of which I forget at the moment.

    As for this “First Humans” conference, sounds interesting, and I wish I could be there, too, but alas, I’m a Starving Writer, not a paleoanthropologist, so that’s out. Still, I’d love to hear some Curtis Marean stories.
    Anne G

  6. #6 Felicia Gilljam
    September 20, 2008

    Omgwtf his name is Gustav II Adolf dammit argh I feel so offended as a swede now…

    Hmm, I forgot the bad grammar and misspellings. I don’t make a very good troll.

    (His name in Swedish really is Gustav II Adolf though. “Gustav the second Adolf”.)

  7. #7 greg laden
    September 20, 2008

    Astrofys: You are probably right. I’m always confusing those two guys.

  8. #8 Barn Owl
    September 20, 2008

    I associate Gustavus Adolphus with the Vasa, a bling-encrusted warship that went belly up and sank, after sailing about 2 kilometers on its maiden voyage.

    The Vasa was like the Large Hadron Collider of the Thirty Years’ War.

  9. #9 Irene Delse
    September 21, 2008

    Gustavus Adolphus plus dynamite? And here I thought it was a sly reference to the 1632 stories…