Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Three NYC High School Students were invited to attend the 2006 Nobel Prize Ceremony Honoring Six American Nobel Prize Winners. The students, known as The Laureates of Tomorrow, were chosen on the basis of an essay contest.

Three New York City high school juniors will join the six American Nobel Prize winners in Stockholm, Sweden, during the Nobel Week Festivities from December 5 – 12, 2006.

Natasha Plotkin, Avishai Don, and Gena Rozenberg are the 2006 winners of The Laureates of Tomorrow – Nobel Essay Contest ™, which is a partnership between the Consulate General of Sweden in New York, the New York Academy of Sciences and, the official website of the Nobel Foundation, working in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education and The City University of New York.

The competition is open to all high school juniors in public, private, and parochial schools in New York City. Since its inauguration two years ago, the contest has attracted hundreds of students eager to win the Grand Prize: an all-expenses paid trip to Sweden to see the Nobel Prize ceremonies. Exclusive to New York City, the contest reflects the fact that New York leads all other cities around the world with more than 100 Nobel Laureates.

To win, the students must write essays examining the impact of major scientific achievements on society by Nobel Prize winners in physics, chemistry, or physiology/medicine. Earlier this year, 30 finalists from 18 different city schools defended their essays before a panel of distinguished scientists and journalists. In June, the 2006 winners were announced at a ceremony held at the Nobel Monument in Manhattan’s Theodore Roosevelt Park.

“After years of reading about the Nobel Prizes, I’m amazed that I’ll get to experience what it’s really like to be there,” said Avishai Don from SAR High School in the Bronx. His essay on the work of Laureate Karl Landsteiner won in the category of Physiology/Medicine. Since the Nobel Prize winners of 2006 were announced last month, Don has been reading about the winners on the web site. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I hope to make the most of it by meeting some of the winners and asking them questions,” he said.

For Natasha Plotkin, the Hunter College High School junior who won in the Chemistry category, this will be only her second trip outside the U.S. “Other than Mexico, I haven’t traveled much, so I can’t wait to add the Swedish stamp to my passport,” she said. “Winning this trip has made the Nobel Prize real to me – I’ll never listen to a Nobel Prize announcement the same way again. To witness this historic event is a dream come true.”

Gena Rozenberg, the Physics winner from Bronx High School of Science, has traveled widely – “to Canada, Spain, the Dominican Republic, and France.” But he says the Stockholm trip will be “unquestionably the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me.”

The Consulate General of Sweden covers all travel expenses and provides the winners’ coveted ceremony and banquet tickets, offering them a unique opportunity to dine together with the 2006 Nobel Prize winners and the Swedish Royal family.

In addition to tickets to the world’s most exclusive international ceremony, the three will have reserved seats at the Nobel Lectures given by this year’s Laureates in the science fields. The Lectures are one of the highlights of a week in which the teens will also experience the beautiful and historic city of Stockholm and meet Swedish students for an international exchange of ideas and fun.

If the experiences of last year’s winners are any indication, the teens are in for a real treat. Michael Vishnevetsky, one of the winners of last year’s contest, warns them not to “spend all your time shopping at H&M.” Most importantly, he says, “savor every minute you are in Stockholm and enjoy this experience. And remember – if you want to attend this ceremony again, the only way you can is to win a Nobel Prize!”

For more details regarding The Laureates of Tomorrow – NOBEL ESSAY CONTEST(tm).



  1. #1 Liz Tracey
    November 30, 2006

    Woot! Go Hunter High! My alma mater makes me proud..and nostalgic.

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