Understanding matter – The Nobel Prize in Physics


When inventor and industrialist Alfred Nobel penned his will in 1895, he laid the foundation for the world's most famous award, the Nobel Prize.

Understanding matter is about one of the fields that Nobel specified for the prize: physics. It examines how our world is constructed, from the smallest components of matter to the gigantic universe. It is also about how discoveries in physics have changed our world, such as through new technologies.

The Nobel Laureates and their discoveries are a gateway that allows us to see the fascinating riches of our world. The Laureates’ work also shows us the joy of discovering and understanding. And their contributions demonstrate the possibility of using our knowledge to develop new opportunities to change our world.

Understanding matter has six different parts with different themes: The Stars and Universe, Matter, Rays and Waves, A Quantum World, Detecting the Invisible, and Electronics. The exhibitions includes, objects, videos, and interactive experiences.

The Stars and Universe

The starry sky has fascinated man since time immemorial. In recent centuries telescopes and other devices have allowed us to study stars and phenomena invisible to the naked eye. Astronomers and physicists have expanded our knowledge of and provided insights about our universe's origins, structure and evolution.

In a small theater you can watch a film that takes you on a journey through space. During the trip, you will hear about Nobel Laureates who have contributed to our knowledge of the cosmos. In another room you can have a virtual reality experience on the same them.


Our world is made of matter, which assumes different states. The building blocks of matter are atoms, which form molecules and various structures. The atom, in turn, is made up of even smaller components.

In this room, you can build atoms and learn about the properties of different elements. You can also learn about different states of matter, its components and about Nobel Prize-awarded discoveries related to matter.

Rays and Waves

The sun’s rays are the reason we can live on Earth. Our eyes allow us to experience the abundance of light and colors in our world. In addition to visible light, there is also radiation we cannot perceive with our eyes.

In this room you can use X-rays to look inside objects and the bodies of humans and animals. You can also read about different types of light and radiation and about how Nobel Laureates have given us new knowledge about radiation.

A Quantum World

The birth of quantum physics about 100 years ago caused a major upheaval in physics. However, classical physics still provides a good explanation for most things we encounter in our everyday lives. The modern laws of quantum mechanics come into play primarily in the case of very small objects, such as atoms. A lot of electronics in contemporary life is based on quantum mechanical phenomena.

At this station, you can see what the world might look like if the laws of quantum mechanics also governed the large-scale objects in our everyday lives.

Detecting the Invisible

Our senses can perceive only a small part of everything that exists and occurs in our world. Physicists have developed a variety of tools to gain an understanding of our world on more levels. Sophisticated equipment is placed in satellites to learn more about our surrounding universe. At facilities on earth, experiments on an increasingly large scale are being conducted to study the minutest particles.

At this station, you can see traces of particles in a cloud chamber that cannot be seen with the naked eye. You can also see images from some large research facilities where Nobel Prize awarded research has been conducted.


Electronics have become increasingly important in the everyday lives of people. Telephones, radios, television, computers, and other electronics have given people unprecedented opportunities to communicate and follow developments in the world.

In this room, you can try your hand at assembling electronics yourself. You can also view objects that illustrate the development of electronics and read about Nobel Laureates who have contributed to this development.

Main sponsor EF

EF – Education First is the Main Partner of the Nobel Museum. 

Project partner Akzo

AkzoNobel is a Project Partner to the Nobel Museum

HTC partner

Virtual Reality Sponsor of the Nobel Museum


The Nobel Museum hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions, on the Nobel Prize, the Nobel Laureates, Alfred Nobel and related topics.

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