Michael Levitt’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, 10 December 2013.
Ers Majestäter, Ers Kungliga Högheter, Ers Excellenser, Mina Damer och Herrar. Jag börjar på svenska för att bevisa att jag fortfarande kan lära mig något nytt 45 år efter arbetet som förde mig hit.
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman.
I start in Swedish to prove that I can still learn something 45 years after doing the work that brought me here.
I love the Swedish people for their detective novels, their archipelago, their sense of humor, their carbonated vodka and most especially for their wonderful hospitality. I have been to Sweden over a dozen times. I came to Malmö as a student in 1965 to drink on the ferry and have returned often as scientist to Lund, Göteborg, Linköping, Stockholm, Uppsala and Umeå.
Computers are now so much part of our lives that it is hard to imagine the dark ages of computing. Let us think in terms of a motor car, a Volvo costing $4,000 in 1967 or $30,000 in current dollars. If cars had improved like computers did, then the new model would cost 20 Kronor, go a million km per hour, and carry 50,000 people!
This power for change has pushed all science ahead. It propelled the field we pioneered to the point where it was recognized by the 2013 Chemistry Committee. I thank them, not for the obvious reason that they selected me and my fellow laureates, Martin Karplus and Arieh Warshel. No, it is because they were brave and daring enough to recognize a new field. Computational Structural Biology will be increasingly important in improving human well-being, for which we can all say: “Thank you!”
Watch the Banquet speech
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.