William C. Campbell

Banquet speech

William C. Campbell’s speech at the Nobel Banquet in the Stockholm City Hall, 10 December 2015.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I speak on behalf of Professor Tu, Professor Omura and myself, in saying that we wish to thank the Karolinska Institute and the members of its Committtee who found our work worthy of such generous, and conspicuous, recognition. And we thank the members of the Nobel Foundation — especially those who made possible today’s splendid Award Ceremony and Banquet.

Professor Tu, Professor Omura and I come from different lands. We speak with different tongues.  But we are as one in gratitude.

Actually, we have something else in common. All three of us have been connected, one way or another, with the world of PARASITES. Professor Tu and Professo Omura work on microorganisms that are very important – but they are very small. I like something bigger. Worm parasites are a decent size. Worms are something you can really get your teeth into.

Parasites are not generally regarded as being loveable. When we refer to some people as parasites, we are not being complimentary; we are not praising them. We think that a parasite is the sort of person who goes through a revolving-door on somebody else’s push. It is so unfair! Unfair to the real parasites – the innumerable and influential parasites of the natural world. Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen it is time for parasites to get a little more respect!

And it is with much respect that we end, as we began, with our thanks to you. We add that we are grateful also to those who made our work possible, those who made our lives possible, and those who make our lives worth living. To all of you and all of them we say THANK YOU.

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 2015

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