Nobelprize.org
Nobel Prizes and Laureates


The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1984
Bruce Merrifield

Share this:

Banquet Speech

Bruce Merrifield's speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1984

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very proud to be here today to experience this marvellous occasion. The hospitality and friendship of the Swedish people will not soon be forgotten.

I have asked myself why am I here - how did it happen - and the answer is difficult. I recalled my first day in James A. Garfield high school some 50 years ago and remembered the words of our 20th president that we were all required to memorize and recite. He said, in part, that if one had "a clear head, a true heart and a strong arm" he could succeed in life. I did not have all those qualities, but took him to mean that if you were honest and worked hard you could accomplish your goals. I have tried to follow his advice, but I never dreamed that it would lead me to this place where I stand today. Clearly there was more; it required good teachers, a good place to work, good friends, a good family and a great amount of good luck.

When the field of peptide chemistry was founded in 1901 by the great Emil Fischer he could not have imagined how it was destined to expand in so many important directions; into biochemistry, molecular biology, virology and nucleic acid chemistry. Because of that lucky and timely circumstance my contributions to the synthesis of this class of compounds have been amplified beyond my expectations. As so often happens, the idea behind the work was not fully accepted at the beginning, although some people were enthusiastic. I believe Emil Fischer would have been a supporter, however, and I am certain he would be happy to know that his far sighted vision of a totally synthetic protein was not just a dream.

On behalf of my many colleagues I want to express our gratitude for your recognition of our field.

From Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1984, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1985

 

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1984
Share this:
To cite this page
MLA style: "Bruce Merrifield - Banquet Speech". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 24 Jul 2014. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1984/merrifield-speech.html>

Recommended:

Dabble in the latest techniques in forensic science.

 

All you want to know about the Nobel Prize in Chemistry!

 

Read more about the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.