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Stanford University School of Medicine

Image of the Week: Brian Kobilka’s Nobel diploma

Last month, Brian Kobilka, MD, chair of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford, was honored at a ceremony in Stockholm for receiving the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. As we announced in October, Kobilka won the award alongside Robert Lefkowitz, MD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Duke University, for his work on G-protein-coupled receptors, or GPCRs, which serve as one of the body’s main methods of conveying chemical signals.

During the ceremony, Kobilka was presented with the stunning Nobel diploma above. As explained on the Nobel Prize website, the prize-awarding bodies decide the design of the diplomas, and each one is inspired by the laureate's work:

The Swedish Academy has always used individual designs related to each Laureate. The artists have tried to summarize something of the atmosphere and character of each author's works. Because the Prize winners are not announced until mid-October and the diplomas must be ready before December 10, the diploma artist has only a few weeks to summarize the collected works or personal attributes of each author.


Today each Nobel diploma is a unique work of art. The Literature diploma is written on parchment, i.e. specially treated leather, using largely the same technique as those of medieval book illustrators. The diplomas given to the other Laureates are produced on specially ordered handmade paper.

The image was produced by artist Susanne Jardeback, calligrapher Annika Rücker, book binder Ingemar Dackéus and photo reproductionist Lovisa Engblom.

Previously: Going behind-the-scenes at Nobel Laureate Brian Kobilka’s press conference, Memorable moments from Brian Kobilka’s Nobel win captured on StorifyImage of the Week: Nobel Laureate Brian Kobilka celebrates with colleagues and friendsA busy morning for Nobel Laureate Brian Kobilka and Stanford’s Brian Kobilka wins 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Photo by The Nobel Foundation 2012

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