The 48th Nobel Conference: Our Global Ocean

Posted on September 28th, 2012 by

This week, distinguished scholars and researchers in the fields of biogeochemistry, oceanography, deep-sea biology, molecular genetics, and coral ecology will travel to Gustavus Adolphus College to take part in the 48th annual Nobel Conference, titled “Our Global Ocean.” They will meet on Oct. 2-3 to discuss the marine realm: what we know, what we don’t know, and how we humans rely upon healthy vibrant seas.

The oceans have long been a source of fascination, from the tales of Sinbad to the popular Blue Planet documentary. The marine world provides us with seafood and medicines, fertilizers and petroleum. The oceans are associated with danger, from the exaggerated fiction of Jaws to poorly understood feedback on climate change. The 48th Nobel Conference will examine “Our Global Ocean” as a source of discovery. Today, we know less about our own oceans than we do about the surfaces of other planets in our solar system. It is time, then, to rekindle interest in the ocean by gathering top researchers in ocean science to speak about their research and our relationship with the ocean.

David Gallo of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts will give the opening lecture for this year’s Nobel Conference at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2.

The schedule for the two-day event is as follows:

Tuesday, Oct. 2

  • 9:30 a.m. / Academic Procession and Opening Ceremony
  • 10 a.m. / David Gallo, Director of Special Projects, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • 1 p.m. / Maya Tolstoy, Associate Professor, Marine Geology and Geophysics, and Research Scientist, Lamont-Hoherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
  • 3 p.m. / Barbara Block, Charles & Elizabeth Prothro Professor in Marine Sciences and co-director, Tuna Research and Conservation Center, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University
  • 6 p.m. / Reception at the Hillstrom Museum of Art
  • 6:30 p.m. / William F. Fitzgerald, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut
  • 8:15 p.m. / The Nobel Conference Concert / Christ Chapel


Carl Safina, President of the Blue Ocean Institute, will give this year’s closing lecture at the Nobel Banquet.

Wednesday, Oct. 3

  • 9:30 a.m. / Opening music and welcome
  • 10 a.m. / Christopher Sabine / Director, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Senior Fellow at the University of Washington Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean
  • 1 p.m. / Kathleen Dean Moore, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and founding director, Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, Oregon State University
  • 3 p.m. / Ove Hoegh-Guldberg / Professor of Marine Studies and Director, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland
  • 6:30 p.m. / The Nobel Conference Banquet / Evelyn Young Dining Room
  • 7:30 p.m. / Carl Safina / President, Blue Ocean Institute / Evelyn Young Dining Room

“If a President or U.N. Secretary General was putting together a scientific panel on the oceans, I believe that these names would be at the top of his or her list,” said Joel Carlin, Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies and a member of the Nobel Conference 48 Committee. “These scientists are incredibly famous for their scholarly work, but all of them started with a simple fascination with nature and a desire to know more. It is my hope that everyone, but especially the young, leave Nobel 48 a little humbled and a lot excited by our global ocean.”

While approximately 4,000 tickets have been sold, some tickets do still remain. Individual reserved main floor tickets are still available for $110. General admission tickets for overflow seating are available for $65. Tickets may also be purchased for the Nobel Conference Banquet for $30.Tickets can be purchased by going online to or by calling the Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.

For those unable to attend the Nobel Conference in person, all eight lectures will be live streamed. You can access the live stream by going online to and clicking on the “Live Video” link on the left side column.

For almost five decades, Gustavus has organized and hosted the two-day Nobel Conference, which draws about 6,000 people to the college campus in St. Peter, Minn. The conference links a general audience, including high school students and teachers, with the world’s foremost scholars and researchers in discussion centered on contemporary issues relating to the natural and social sciences. The Nobel Conference is the first ongoing educational conference of its kind in the United States, and is made possible through the generous support of Drell and Adeline Bernhardson, major legacy gifts, and annual contributors.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Carlos D, from E.P. says:

    We have attended 14 or so Nobel Conferences, and this one, -may have been the best. Outstanding presentations by everyone! Sobering, true. Slightly scary but hopeful at the same time.
    The video capabilities were almost unreal; easily the best I have ever seen. Very Nice Job!

    Thank you again for putting these on!!