Igor Y. Tamm

Banquet speech

Igor Y. Tamm’s speech at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, December 10, 1958

Eders Majestäter, Eders Kungliga Högheter, Excellenser, Mina Damer och Herrar!

Å mina och mina kollegers Cerenkov och Frank vägnar önskar jag uttrycka vår djupt kända tacksamhet för den stora ära, som vederfarits oss.

Besides the feeling of an immense personal happiness, mixed with an intense feeling of humility, when remembering the great men, to whom the prizes were awarded in previous years, we are happy to take part in some modest way in the great cause of international cooperation of the sciences, a cooperation not only within the boundaries of each separate domain of science, but of science as a whole.

The specialization within science, which of course is to some extent indispensable, was perhaps at its maximum about the beginning of the present century, when Nobel prizes were initiated. But in later years it became more and more evident, that many of the most important scientific problems can be solved only by a common effort of different sciences.

It is therefore not at all accidental, that when a physicist reads the list of Nobelprize-winners in chemistry, he finds in it the names of a number of scientists, whom he regards as being unquestionably physicists, e. g. Joliot-Curie, Debye, McMillan. Perhaps some of the awards in physics may invoke a corresponding impression in a chemist.

However, the dividing line between physics and biology is at present a rather sharp one. But a number of impressive recent achievements in biology make one believe that we are perhaps on the eve of an epoch of great discoveries in biology. I venture to express the opinion, that to achieve fundamental success in biology a very close working cooperation of all three sciences, representatives of which are honoured by Nobel prizes, will be indispensable.

But there is even a more important aspect of the Nobel foundation bringing together representatives of different sciences and of different nations. The spirit of friendly international cooperation of scientists, furthered in such a remarkable way by this foundation, may prove to be to some extent helpful in our progress to the all-important goal of our time – the peaceful cooperation of all the nations of the world.

From Les Prix Nobel en 1958, Editor Göran Liljestrand, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1959

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1958

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