Herbert Simon

Banquet speech

Herbert A. Simon’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1978

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen, May I express my deep gratitude for the honor bestowed on me, and through me, on the colleagues with whom I have collaborated in studying economic behavior and the human mind.

Ten years ago, economics was added to the list of disciplines recognized in these ceremonies. About ten years ago, also, in the United States, the social and behavioral sciences were given a full seat in our National Academy of Sciences. The decisions to take these steps were acknowledgements that all the great problems that face our world today have both technical and human content – the one intermingled inseparably with the other.

To deal with these problems – of world population and hunger, of peace, of energy and mineral resources, of environmental pollution, of poverty – we must broaden and deepen our knowledge of Nature’s laws, and we must broaden and deepen our understanding of the laws of human behavior. And we must do this in the spirit of deep concern for human values that is symbolized by the presence here also of the domain of literature.

The Nobel prizes memorialize Alfred Nobel’s faith in the contribution that human thought, directed to science and art, can make to human welfare. On this occasion we renew our resolution to use all the powers of the human mind, finite though they be, to search forward to a more humane world.

From Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1978, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1979

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1978

To cite this section
MLA style: Herbert A. Simon – Banquet speech. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Thu. 13 Jun 2024. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/1978/simon/speech/>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.