Carlo Rubbia’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1984
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the privilege to speak on behalf of Simon van der Meer and myself. We wish to express our deepest gratitude for the high honour and the warm hospitality we have received on this occasion.
The research work which has brought us here tonight was performed with what is probably the most complex and most expensive apparatus ever recognized by the Nobel Committee. This, we believe, is a part of a general evolution of pure science which more and more relies on “big” science. Space astronomy is at least as dependent from an unprecedented marriage between pure science and technology as was the discovery of the W and Z bosons.
In big science the role of the individual scientist must be carefully preserved. So is the one of original ideas and of contributions. Our collaborators are as proud and as honoured as we are in receiving this Prize.
We believe that international cooperation in science will have a growing role in the future. We have been privileged of working in a laboratory which so far is an almost unique institution constructed upon the very idea of an open world for science, as a prerequisite for peaceful developments. Scientists of almost every country in the world are working there side by side, without distinction from political systems.
This spirit of collective greed for discovery rather than for power and struggle is best described by Dante in the words of Ulysses sailing toward the limit of the earth, the Pillars of Hercules:
Fatti non foste a viver come Bruti
Ma per seguir virtude e conoscenza.
(“for brutish ignorance your mettle was not made; you were made men to follow after knowledge and excellence”).
This spirit we believe was very much in the mind of Alfred Nobel and it captures the significance of the Prize he has created. We are privileged and honoured to have been included. And for this we thank you all.