Opening address – 2020

The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony 2020
Opening address 2020

Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin delivering the opening address at the 2020 Nobel Prize award ceremony.

© Nobel Prize Outreach. Photo: Dan Lepp

Speech by Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin, Chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation, 10 December 2020.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Esteemed Nobel Laureates, Ladies and Gentlemen around the world!

On behalf of the Nobel Foundation, it is a great honor for me to welcome you to this year’s Nobel Prize Award Ceremony.

It is gratifying that, during a year when humanity is being subjected to such major hardships, new Nobel Laureates could be announced this October. And we are glad that we have been able to bring the Nobel Prize medals and diplomas to you Nobel Laureates, in your home countries, when it is not possible for you to come to us in Stockholm. Nevertheless, you will all be honored and celebrated here today in the City Hall.

The Nobel Prize shows humanity’s ability to constantly find solutions to the difficult challenges we face. This year, when we are all deeply affected by the Corona pandemic, it feels especially important to highlight scientific, literary and humanitarian efforts that inspire us and give us hope for the future.

The ongoing pandemic has reminded us all that the conditions for our lives can, very quickly, change dramatically. We have also been reminded of the importance of science to solve severe problems. Only by understanding the Corona virus, how it infects people and the mechanisms whereby it causes disease in patients, can we find ways to combat the Covid-19 disease. With an impressive speed, the scientific community has joined forces to answer these questions. A pandemic knows no borders and this year we have seen how important research and international cooperation are to find solutions to global problems.

Earlier today, in Oslo, the World Food Program was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for its efforts to combat hunger”. Again, we are reminded that global problems can only be addressed efficiently by global cooperation.

Over the last 120 years, Nobel Prizes have been awarded to persons who have made important discoveries about ourselves and the world around us. Today, we celebrate scientific achievements which span from discoveries that protect us from infection and death by another virus, the hepatitis C virus, and that has taught us about dark holes in the universe, to the development of an efficient method to change DNA and of new formats for auctions. We also celebrate poetry that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal. These achievements are well in line with the vision of Alfred Nobel to honor those who have made “the greatest benefit to humankind”.

I welcome you all to today’s Nobel Prize Award ceremony!

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 2020

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