Linus Pauling

Banquet speech

Linus Pauling’s speech at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, December 10, 1954

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a great honor to be chosen as the recipient of a Nobel Prize; not only a great honor, but a great pleasure, and, speaking not only for myself but also for my wife and our children, I thank all of you.

I have found that it is always a great pleasure to come to Sweden. I feel at home in Sweden: even though there may be a snow-covered landscape about us, instead of the green (or sometimes brown) hills of southern California, nevertheless I feel, emanating from the Swedish people, the radiations of sympathy, of homologous character, so strongly as almost to cause me to consider myself to be a Swede.

I remember my first close connection with Sweden. During the period 1923 to 1925 I became well acquainted with Dr. Albert Björkeson, who, as a young physicist, spent two years carrying on research in the Norman Bridge Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology. I collaborated with him on a piece of scientific work, and through him I learned something about your wonderful country.

Then in 1947 my wife and I were privileged to visit here, in the beautiful city of Stockholm, and even to participate in a banquet held for the International Congress of Cytology, in this room. And last year, in 1953, we were happy to be able to come again to Sweden – and I had the pleasure and honor of being allowed to speak in the Concert House, on a scientific subject in which I am deeply interested – the stochastic method (that is, how to make good guesses – the word is from the Greek stocastikoV, apt to divine the truth by conjecture) and the structure of proteins. Ever since these earlier visits, my wife and I have hoped that we could see the Concert House and this beautiful Town Hall, a wonderful example of the best in modern architecture, again, and we thank you for the privilege of being here on this occasion.

I hope that it will not be thought that I am any less an American citizen if I say that from now on I shall consider myself to be an honorary Swede.

From Les Prix Nobel en 1954, Editor Göran Liljestrand, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1955

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1954

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