Ben R. Mottelson

Banquet speech

Ben R. Mottelson’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1975

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an overwhelming experience to participate in the great drama that has been created out of Alfred Nobel’s idealism and vision of science. The performance today reflects the unsparing efforts of our hosts in their devotion to these ideals.

To find oneself as an actor in this drama has an element of unreality, and the task of impersonating science would require a degree of acting quite outside our abilities. However, on behalf of my colleagues and myself I would like to say a few words about our personal experience in relation to scientific activity.

It is clear that science progresses through the interplay of ideas, with contributions from so many different viewpoints and approaches. We have been singled out as individuals but our work has been part of a collective effort. We feel ourselves as representatives of a whole community imbued with a spirit of co-operation that has contributed so immeasurably not only to the progress of the work but also to make the whole adventure such a rich experience.

It is the very essence of science that it is common for all mankind. The feeling of international community on a world-wide scale that we have encountered has given an added dimension to our lives.

Til vore nordiske brødre retter Aage og jeg en saerlig tak. Sammen med jer har vi i så rigt mål oplevet den styrke, der kan ligge i det nordiske fællesskab.

From Les Prix Nobel en 1975, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1976

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1975


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