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Tuesday, 7 December 2004 


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I welcome you very warmly to this meeting which has a high symbolic value. Thank you for your distinguished presence. I greet each one of you, eminent members of the international scientific community.

I greet the Authorities and representatives of the public institutions. In particular, I greet Prof. Antonino Zichichi and thank him for his words on behalf of all.

2. Today I receive from your hands the "Erice Prize, Ettore Majorana - Science for Peace". I thank you for your generous gift. I will put it towards scholarships for needy Third World students.

The prize is associated with the memory of the famous Italian physicist who made a notable contribution to the development of theoretical nuclear physics. The International Centre of Scientific Culture, founded by Prof. Antonino Zichichi more than 40 years ago in Erice, Sicily, is dedicated to him. With time it has become an important "Upper Room" focused on various cultural areas of modern knowledge.

On previous occasions I have had the opportunity to appreciate the work done there, and I congratulate you on the results achieved.

3. May the joint efforts of the international scientific community, the public institutions and all people of good will guarantee humanity a future of hope and peace. May God make this common endeavour fruitful; in particular, may he help believers who are dedicated to scientific research to offer a clear Gospel witness and to encourage the dialogue between science and faith.

I entrust these wishes to the motherly intercession of Mary, while with all my heart I bless you who are present here, your loved ones and all those who attend to the Ettore Majorana Centre in Erice.


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