Willis E. Lamb

Banquet speech

Willis E. Lamb’s speech at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, December 10, 1955

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a privilege, an honor and a pleasure to be here tonight. I would like to thank the Royal Swedish Academy of Science for considering me worthy of their great award. At the same time, however, I am filled with a deep sense of obligation to my colleagues Robert Retherford, Miriam Skinner, Sol Triebwasser and Edward Dayhoff for their large contributions to the work now being honored.

Unlike a large fraction of my countrymen who find themselves in this beautiful city of Stockholm on the tenth of December, I can not claim Swedish descent, but only that my father showed the good sense to be born in your great colony of Minnesota. Also, in my work with the hydrogen atom I had often to make use of a contribution to science by the Swedish physicist Rydberg. This is as close as I have come to Sweden in the past.

At present, the warmth of our reception more than makes up for the cold temperature outside. In the future, with Oxford as our base of operations instead of sunny California, Mrs. Lamb and I hope to take frequent advantage of the pleasant Swedish summers about which we have heard so much to increase our acquaintance, with this country. Thank you very much!

From Les Prix Nobel en 1955, Editor Göran Liljestrand, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1956

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1955


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