Edwin M. McMillan

Banquet speech

Edwin M. McMillan’s speech at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, December 10, 1951

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I would like to say how much I appreciate this honor and how deeply impressed I am by this ceremony and by what it represents. There has never been in the history of the world any other prize or honor with the international recognition accorded to the Nobel Prize. One reason for this is that it is truly an international honor, given with regard to achievement only. It is very greatly to the credit of the Swedish and Norwegian nations, and to the organizations and individuals in those nations who have administered the giving of the Prizes, that this high ideal of Alfred Nobel has been maintained. The world would be a more agreeable place if similar ideals governed more of its affairs.

Prior to the speech, Einar Löfstedt, Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, addressed the laureate: “The same is true, Professor McMillan and Professor Seaborg, of your discoveries and achievements in nuclear chemistry. You have succeeded in augmenting the well-known periodical system with no less than six new elements. The result is, even for the layman, imposing in itself; in addition, among the many new kinds of atoms you have produced, are those which can be used for generating atomic energy – let it be noted, not merely for military, but also for peaceful ends. This is a vast perspective for future development which opens up before the imagination. We beg you too to accept our most sincere homage, and we are very happy that you have honoured this festival with your presence.”

From Les Prix Nobel en 1951, Editor Arne Holmberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1952

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1951

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