Frederick Sanger

Banquet speech

Frederick Sanger’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1980

When I was here 22 years ago I addressed the students of 1958 as “fellow students” because although I was 40 years old I still felt that I was one of them, and I still feel the same today. I and my colleagues here have been engaged in the pursuit of knowledge. We have been learning, are still learning and I hope will continue to learn.

I believe that we have been doing this not primarily to achieve riches or even honour, but rather because we were interested in the work, enjoyed doing it and felt very strongly that it was worthwhile.

Scientific research is one of the most exciting and rewarding of occupations. It is like a voyage of discovery into unknown lands, seeking not for new territory but for new knowledge. It should appeal to those with a good sense of adventure.

When I was young my Father used to tell me that the two most worthwhile pursuits in life were the pursuit of truth and of beauty and I believe that Alfred Nobel must have felt much the same when he gave these prizes for literature and the sciences. Through art and science in their broadest senses it is possible to make a permanent contribution towards the improvement and enrichment of human life and it is these pursuits that we students are engaged in.

So, fellow students, I would like to thank you for your part in these celebrations and for your words.

Finally, we would like to salute you young students on whom the future depends.

From Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1980, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1981

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1980

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