Your Majesty, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gen-
It is a great honour for me to respond to the
address of the minister of education. I would like
to express the deep gratitude of mathematicians
to the Norwegian government, and to the Norwe-
gianpeople,for establishingthe Abel Prize.The lack
of a Nobel Prize inmathematics was longregarded
as an anomaly that diminished public perception
of the importance of mathematics in society. The
vision and generositythat led to the creationof the
Abel Prize has now put mathematics on an equal
footing with the other sciences.
It is also an honour and a pleasure on this
glorious occasion to congratulate Professor Peter
Lax. It goes without saying that the Abel Prize is
the highest honour a mathematician can achieve.