Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2005
Barry J. Marshall, J. Robin Warren

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Telephone interview with Professor Barry Marshall after the announcement of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine by science writer Joanna Rose, 3 October 2005.


- Hello. Barry Marshall here.

- Hello, Barry. This is Joanna Rose from the Nobel Foundation. I'm making a recording for our Web pages.

- Oh, great!

- Congratulations to the Prize.

- Thank you.

- Did you expect it?

- I think ... Well, Robin and I often have a beer ...

- Yes?

- ...down by the riverside at this time of year. But it's more of a joke, and I think... Of course, it's funny how things like this are such a surprise, but ... I mean, of course, we would always dream about winning the Nobel, but we never really thought we'd ... A thing like this, we could say it was an important discovery, but there are so many important things in medicine these days that ... I could say that, if we never had won it, it wouldn't necessarily be a disappointment. It's just that there are so many other good discoveries out there, and hard workers.

- What does it mean for your work, do you think, now - from now on?

- I think my work'll be a little bit disrupted. [laughter] But I think there some very exciting projects that I'm doing at the moment, and I think that I have to continue on with those, because that's where the future of my ... That's where my interest is at the moment; I love doing this work. So it will just create some extra activities for me! So, I'm not sure what'll happen. I think I'll just have to float in the breeze, I guess ... and see what happens.

- Your colleague, Robin Warren, he mentioned to me that nobody really believed you in this at the beginning.

- Well, it's so entrenched that ulcers are caused by stress; and so, even now in the movies in Hollywood you still see people developing ulcers from stress. But I think most ... Well, I suppose people that are educated haven't heard about these bacteria that cause ulcers. But ... it's not as exciting as it was a few years ago, because so many people now are being cured and you don't know people with ulcers any more. It's becoming a rare disease in modern countries, Western countries. But, of course, in a lot of countries it's still very common.

- When did you realise that you'd been awarded the Prize?

- Well, when we received a call from Sweden about an hour ago.

- So now you're celebrating?

- Well, we're not ... We're being very careful - we're just having one glass of beer at the moment. And I don't want to appear on television, intoxicated. Dr Warren and I, we're very moderate in our activities and, usually, one beer is enough to keep us cheerful.

- For how many years did you make the jokes about the Prize?

- Oh ... Well, the first time we ... We first had a publication in the Lancet in 1984 ...'83 or ... it might have been '83, and we made a joke then: we thought we'd probably win the Prize in 1986. [laughter]

- So it's just 19 years later - it's lost it's kick!

- 19 years later! [more laughter] So we still enjoy it very much, and I visited Sweden a couple of years ago and I'm just looking forward to visiting again so much and showing my wife all the wonderful things we saw there.

- Well, you are so much welcome here. Hope to see you here in December. Thank you very much.

- Oh, yes. Thank you.

- Bye-bye.


Listen to the Interview
4 min.


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MLA style: "Barry J. Marshall - Interview". Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 25 Apr 2014. <>


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