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H.M. Kongens tale ved "The Brain Prize 2024"

Dennis Stenild, Kongehuset ©



H.M. Kong Frederik X
Konge af Danmark





Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I stand before you tonight to present The Brain Prize 2024. 

The Brain Prize ceremony is always a remarkable evening where we honour the lifelong commitment of brilliant minds and their amazing discoveries. 
In addition to allowing me to meet outstanding scientists, The Brain Prize celebration always provides an opportunity for me to reflect on the wonders and mysteries of the brain.

In the 17th century the French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes famously wrote: “Je pense, donc je suis” – “Cogito, ergo sum” – “I think, therefore I am”. 

To him, our thoughts were proof of our existence, and from this, his first principle of truth, he raised the complex question: “What is the connection between body and mind?”. 

Today, centuries later, we are still striving to solve the old dualistic riddle by uncovering the nature of the interaction between our physical brain and our consciousness. 
How do objective chemical and electrical processes in the brain form our subjective experiences? 

Well, one thing I have learned from my involvement in The Brain Prize is that it takes years of dedicated research to grasp even the smallest parts of our complex brain. 

So let me be honest with you: while my thoughts prior to tonight may prove my existence, they will not, I am afraid, help us solve Descartes fundamental question. 

Fortunately, we are joined tonight by individuals who have persistently strived for answers. We celebrate a trio of truly brilliant pioneers: Professor Larry Abbott, Professor Haim Sompolinsky and Professor Terrence Sejnowski.

When I think of brain research, I envision labs, microscopes, and an array of complex equipment. However, your study of the brain is conducted through mathematics and ideas borrowed from physics. 

This innovative approach helps us to understand numerous aspects of the brain, such as how we learn, how we navigate, and how our brains handle the constant barrage of information we face every day.

Moreover, you have pioneered a new field of research, changing how an entire generation of scientists study the brain. Your work has paved the way for the development of artificial intelligence, which is already impacting our everyday in many ways. 

A slight paraphrase of Descartes first principle could be: “You think, therefore you are here”. 
Your findings concern each and every one of us and deserve to be celebrated. Your dedication is truly admirable and who knows? Perhaps one day, AI will be clever enough to help us understand the very organ that created it: our brain.

Let me finish my speech by thanking this year’s winners for their enormous contributions to neuroscience. Your commitment, creativity and vision have – and will continue to have – a lasting impact on how we study and understand the brain. Your impressive work and research are truly inspirational for future generations of scientists.

Dear Professor Larry Abbott, Professor Haim Sompolinsky and Professor Terrence Sejnowski, it is my honour to present you with The Brain Prize 2024.




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