George R. Minot’s speech at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, December 10, 1934
Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Medicine disregards international boundaries. The physician studies for the benefit of mankind. Alfred Nobel, by the expression of his lofty ideals, has recognized the importance of science and creative accomplishments in augmenting human happiness.
This honor which has been conferred upon the three of us is an honor to American medicine and to the men who created the scholarly environment in which we have found ourselves. The award illustrates the generous spirit of the Swedish people. In accepting this honor I give recognition to those men who have taught me how science provides the means by which human suffering may be alleviated and who have aided me to understand fundamental knowledge and clinical problems: such men as the late James Homer Wright, William Sydney Thayer and Francis Weld Peabody, and also David Linn Edsall, William Henry Howell, Roger Erving Lee and Edwin Allen Locke.
As each bit of information is added to the sum of human knowledge it is evident that it is the little things that count; that give all the fertility and character; that give all the hope and happiness to human affairs. The concept of bigness is apt to be a delusion, and standardizing processes must not supplant creative impulses. In clinical investigation the sick individual is at the centre of the picture. The physician must have a deep interest in his patient’s economic and social structure as well as in his physical and psychic state. If attention is not paid to the diagnosis of the person the clinical investigator is apt to fail in studies of the patient’s disease. Without a consideration of the patient as a human being it would have been difficult to have fed patients daily large amounts of liver.
This honor serves as a great stimulus for me to continue trying to advance knowledge for the prevention and adequate treatment of disease. It also stimulates me to aid young men become wise clinicians and investigators.
We in America are grateful to Sweden for the important role she has played in the progress of the scientific world. The intellectual spirit which pervades today’s ceremonies insures the permanence of Sweden’s progressive influence upon international art and science.
I thank you.