Riccardo Giacconi’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, 10 December 2002.
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen:
A dinner speech is harder for me than a lecture. Therefore, I will simply share with you some of the feelings and thoughts I have had about this Nobel week.
At first, upon learning that we have become Nobel Laureates there is a feeling of personal pride which we share with family and friends. Then the realization hits us that the work for which we are honoured is the result of the cooperative effort of many many people over the years. Finally we feel a sense of continuity with the quest, initiated thousands of years ago for an understanding of the cosmos in which we live. While enormous strides have been made in the last decades, one of the most fundamental questions still have no answers, and so the quest goes on.
But other feelings and thoughts have come to the fore since reaching Stockholm. The warmth and kindness we have found here is expressed sometimes with solemnity and sometimes with whimsy and humor. We all feel we are participating in a great festival of lights. This week we are celebrating not only the light of reason, but also the light of poetry and art, the light of human solidarity and finally the lights of Santa Lucia.
It is a splendid reaffirmation of the human spirit and of our capacity to give meaning and warmth to life.
We are very grateful to you for the privilege of participating in these events. Thank you.