Barry J. Marshall

Banquet speech

Barry J. Marshall’s speech at the Nobel Banquet in the Stockholm City Hall, December 10, 2005.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of Robin Warren and myself I would like to thank the Nobel Foundation for this great honour. I am here with my wife, Adrienne, who has shared my work and my life for the past 33 years. I know Robin would also want to acknowledge his late wife, Dr. Win Warren.

We are intensely proud to become part of the tradition begun with the legacy of Alfred Nobel. There is no other prize in any country that carries the prestige that a Nobel bestows. And, I think I can safely say, there is no other celebration in the world that can compare to the festivities we are all enjoying tonight.

Robin and I follow in the footsteps of other notable Australians and I would like to quote the words of Australia’s most honoured scientist, Sir Frank MacFarlane Burnet. These are the words he spoke 45 years ago on the night of his award.

“I think that this occasion has a rather special significance for my own country, a middling small country a little bigger than Sweden but only now beginning to create an image of itself in the eyes of the world. Some day I hope that we will take our place along with Sweden as one of the centres where knowledge can go along with social progress to the good life that we all seek”.

I like to think that I have benefited from the expansion of knowledge and social progress that Macfarlane Burnet hoped for, and I hope that in my own way I will contribute to its development in the future.

Let me clarify here, while it is true that MacFarlane Burnet injected himself with the rabbit myxoma virus, and I did actually infect myself with Helicobacter pylori, I don’t suggest to other aspiring Aussie scientists that this process will guarantee a Nobel Prize. But to young people listening tonight I would say, find passion in your work – whatever it is. If, like me, you are working in the area of science, I can promise you that it can be the most exciting and rewarding of careers.

So work hard, keep balance in your life and, just in case, always be nice to Swedish people.

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 2005

To cite this section
MLA style: Barry J. Marshall – Banquet speech. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Sun. 1 Oct 2023. <>

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