Monday, October 6, 2008

Nobel Prize

The most famous prize in the world, the Nobel Prize, is announced this week, starting today with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist and inventor of dynamite, established 5 prizes in his 1895 will - for peace, literature, chemistry, physics and physiology or medicine. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economics was established in 1968 and is included as a Nobel prize.

We'll have a quick word each day on the Nobel winners announced this week and some excerpts from past Nobel acceptance speeches. Let's start with William Faulkner, 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, speech December 10, 1950:
Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
The full speech is here.

(image credit: Nobel Prize Medal, aps.org)