Letter to Professor Katalin Karikó from the leaders of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Dear Professor Karikó, dear Katalin,

It is with immense pride and joy that we have learned that you have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. We are especially delighted that for the first time in history, a Hungarian female scientist has received this prestigious recognition. Your example is a demonstration of how personal curiosity, hard work and perseverance coupled with talent can deliver extraordinary scientific achievements – achievements which amaze not only the academia but which can also help humanity surmount a crisis situation. The example you set with your fellow researcher and your students is a source of strength and inspiration for generations of researchers eager to walk in your footsteps in your home country and around the world. Your success showcases the crucial role that science can play in the life of humanity.

Your scholarship is convincing proof that without curiosity-driven basic research, there can be no development or innovation. And without those, the coronavirus epidemic would have entailed a much greater loss of human lives, economic damage and social burden. Let this be an important lesson brought also to the attention of policy makers.

At the same time, you are revered for your modest and warm personality, as someone who has stayed faithful to her alma mater, never forgetting the academic institution that served as the first scene of her exceptional career; as a scientist involved in basic research who has found a way for her discovery to proceed from the laboratory to its utilization for the public good; as a senior researcher who despite all her engagements has made it a point to devote ample attention and time to the education and support of the young generations; and as a public figure who can inspire respect and appreciation for scientific work and researchers in all. And last, but not least: although you have spent most of your academic years abroad, you are someone who considers herself a Hungarian at heart who is passionate about her homeland.

Dear Katalin, on behalf of the Hungarian scientific community and all the members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, we warmly congratulate you on your Nobel Prize, and we wish you continued success and further scientific achievements in your work, as well as good health and many happy years to come.

Budapest, 2 October 2023

Tamás Freund
László Kollár
Anna Erdei