Konrad Bloch’s speech at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, December 10, 1964
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
The last few weeks have been a time of great happiness, elation and pride for my family and me. We have looked forward excitedly to visiting Stockholm in anticipation of the events which have reached their highest point to-night. The warmth of your welcome and your hospitality has overwhelmed us and surpass by far what we had imagined.
At this moment I am above all conscious of the supreme way in which you are honoring me, deeply grateful to the Nobel Committee for having recognized my work and greatly pleased to be here, together with my friend Feodor Lynen.
I would not be among you to-night but for the mentors, colleagues and students who have guided and aided me throughout my scientific life. I wish I could name them all and tell you their contributions. More, however, than anyone else it was the late Rudolf Schoenheimer, a brilliant scholar and a man of infectious enthusiasm, who introduced me to the wonders of Biochemistry. Ever since, I have been happy to have chosen science as my career, and, to borrow a phrase of Jacques Barzun, have felt that “Science is, in the best and strictest sense, glorious entertainment”. To give expression to my feelings at this moment I can say no more than:
“Tack så mycket för allt.”
At the banquet, S. Friberg, Rector of the Caroline Institute, made the following remarks: Mrs. Crowfoot Hodgkin, Mr. Bloch and Lynen. When one of you received the news by telephone, that you had been awarded the Nobel Prize, you modestly asked: “Why?” Each and all of you would have been fully justified in asking the same question by entirely different reasons, for you have all achieved such outstanding results, that several merit a Nobel award. I believe, that I may be permitted the indiscretion of revealing that the only problem relating to your prizes was to decide whether they should be awarded in medicine or chemistry. Your intellectual accomplishments and the immense technical difficulties, you had to overcome can only be grasped by the specialist, but their significance can be understood by all. Within the foreseeable future, your discoveries may provide us with weapons against some of mankind’s gravest maladies, above all in relation to cardiovascular diseases. Achievements like yours make it not unrealistic to look forward to a time, when mankind will not only live under vastly improved conditions, but will itself be better.
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