Marshall W. Nirenberg

Banquet speech

Marshall W. Nirenberg’s speech at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, December 10, 1968

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am deeply honored to be here tonight and would like to express my gratitude for the distinction you have conferred upon me. I am particularly happy to be here with Robert Holley and Gobind Khorana.

The experience of being awakened one ordinary fall morning to be greeted with the news that one has been awarded such an honor is somewhat overwhelming. The news brings spontaneous joy with it. It was as though we all were involved in an experiment that, quite unlike most of our experiments, had worked.

It is fortunate, indeed, to enjoy one’s work and, in addition, have the work engender the opportunity to participate in an occasion such as this. The sustained satisfaction, of course, comes from the work itself, from generating the ideas and selecting those that match nature’s temple, from the excitement and adventure of exploring.

One individual alone creates only a note or so that blends with those produced by others. The advances that have been described here today are due to the efforts of investigators throughout the world. And so, on this happy occasion, though I am honored beyond words to stand before you, I know that I stand here as a representative of a community of investigators. That it has fallen to me for a brief moment, to represent us, I am deeply grateful.

From Les Prix Nobel en 1968, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1969

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1968


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