Leo Esaki

Banquet speech

Leo Esaki’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1973

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Brian Josephson, Ivar Giaever and I come from three very different cultures and yet tonight we are here together and together we have the honour of responding to your toast.

Because we have such different origins, in some way we symbolize that there are no national or racial boundaries in Physics and other sciences as Alfred Nobel understood so well.

He realized and underlined in his remarkable will that basic knowledge about nature is one of man’s greatest treasures, and that this knowledge belongs to all mankind. Thus, he made it possible for three people like us, who must have had very different early lives, to here share the proudest moment in our scientific careers.

We recognize, as I am sure you all recognize, that our presence here only symbolizes the progress of Physics around the world. True, each of us has in his own way contributed a little to advance man’s knowledge but Physics also advances through the conscientious and imaginative work of many people. Every new idea is tested and tried in many different laboratories throughout the world until the pertinent facts are crystallized and understood.

By selecting a few scientists each year to receive the Nobel Prize, the world’s attention is focused upon the importance of science. Ivar Giaever, Brian Josephson and I are very honoured and pleased to participate as individuals in this splendid banquet. We also know that all scientists in the world join us in this proud moment in saluting the Nobel Foundation’s as well as the Royal Academy’s efforts to encourage scientific cooperation and progress.

Tack så mycket för svensk gästfrihet!

From Les Prix Nobel en 1973, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1974

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1973


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