Allan M. Cormack’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1979
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Godfrey Hounsfield has asked me to speak for both of us. We would most respectfully request Your Majesty to convey to the Nobel Foundation and the Nobel Assembly of Karolinska Institutet our intense gratitude for the honour which they have done us by awarding us the Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology.
There is irony in this award, since neither Hounsfield nor I is a physician. In fact it is not much of an exaggeration to say that what Hounsfield and I know about medicine and physiology could be written on a small prescription form!
While there is irony in the award, there is also hope that even in these days of increasing specialization there is a unity in the human experience, a unity clearly known to Alfred Nobel by the broad spectrum of his awards. I think that he would have been pleased to know that an engineer and a physicist, each in his own way, have contributed just a little to the advancement of medicine.
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.