Sounds: Nobel laureates

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Harold Pinter (1930 - 2008)

Literature 2005: find out more from Nobel Museum.
© The British Library Board

Harold Pinter was born in the London borough of Hackney. Initially an actor, his breakthrough as a dramatist came with The Caretaker (1959), followed by The Homecoming (1964). Pinter is perhaps the most significant figure in British drama in the second half of the 20th century. His theatre is pared down to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of each other. Since 1973, Pinter has won recognition as a fighter for human rights. Recorded before a live audience at the Royal Court Theatre.

On winning the Nobel prize: date of recording 20.10.2005

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Physics 1921: find out more from Nobel Museum.
This speech was broadcast on the day of the presentation of the annual Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded in 1945 to Wolfgang Pauli for his work on the development of atomic theory. Einstein takes the opportunity to link the achievements of Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, with the scientists who participated in the invention of the atomic bomb, first deployed at Hiroshima, Japan, in August earlier that year.

Albert Einstein. The post-war world [extract]: date of broadcast 10.12.1945

Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919)

Peace 1906: find out more from Nobel Museum.
In 1901, at the age of 42, Roosevelt was the youngest man ever to serve as President under its present constitution. When running as the Progressive candidate for President of the United States in 1912, Roosevelt recorded a number of campaign speeches of which this is one. He was the first American to win a Nobel Prize.

This is a small selection of the recordings from the British Library Sound Archive collections available to listen to via the web. To hear a wider range please see our catalogue, and enter the search term 'virtual nsa'.

Theodore Rooselvelt. Farmer and the businessman: date of recording August 1912.

William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)

Literature 1923: find out more from Nobel Museum.
Born in Dublin and brought up in Sligo and London, Yeats was one of those writers (along with J.M. Synge and Sean O'Casey) responsible for the establishment of the literary movement known as the ‘Celtic Revival’. W.B. Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923. In the 1930s he made a handful of BBC broadcasts, in which he reads a small number of his poems and talks generally on the subjects of rhythm and modern poetry

William Butler Yeats reads The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924)

Peace 1919: find out more from Nobel Museum.
The American presidential election of 1912 prompted politicians on all sides to make sound recordings in support of their campaigns. All three candidates - Woodrow Wilson, who was to win the election, Theodore Roosevelt (for the newly-named Bull Moose Party) and William Howard Taft - issued speeches on disc. As President, Wilson went on to lead the United States into the First World War and to become the creator of the League of Nations at the war’s conclusion

The American presidential election of 1912 prompted politicians on all sides to make sound recordings in support of their campaigns. All three candidates - Woodrow Wilson, who was to win the election, Theodore Roosevelt (for the newly-named Bull Moose Party) and William Howard Taft - issued speeches on disc. As President, Wilson went on to lead the United States into the First World War and to become the creator of the League of Nations at the war’s conclusion.