In December, Roy was one of twelve students assigned to host a Nobel Prize winner at the student-run party that followed the awards ceremony. Called Nobel Nightcap, the party gave the most eminent scholars of their fields a chance to unwind after a long and formal day.
Roy played host to Roderick MacKinnon, the forty-seven-year-old American who shared the prize in chemistry for his studies of ion channels. If Roy felt any anxiety about his ability to entertain a member of the supersmart set, it soon dissipated: “As soon as he got out of the car he seemed like a great guy,” he says. After congratulating MacKinnon on the award, Roy kept the talk light, gabbing about Sweden and making runs to the bar for drinks. Roy says MacKinnon cracked jokes with relatives who had come with him to celebrate. Thank goodness, the Nobelist didn’t seem eager to talk about chemistry. (Roy is a political science concentrator.)
Though the party ran from midnight to 5 a.m., MacKinnon left a bit early—2 a.m. As for Roy, he flew out of Sweden three days later, returning home to Connecticut before starting the spring semester at Brown. Thinking back, he says the magnitude of the night has yet to sink in. “It hasn’t really hit me,” he says. “I was just hanging out with Nobel laureates!”