I’ve already got the prize.
The prize is the pleasure of finding the thing out, the kick in the discovery, the observation that other people use it. Those are the real things. The honors are unreal to me. I don’t believe in honors. It bothers me; honors bother me. Honors is epaulettes; honors is uniforms. My poppa brought me up this way. I can’t stand it; it hurts me.
I had trouble when I became a member of the National Academy of Science, and I had ultimately to resign. Because there was another organization, most of whose time was spent in choosing who was illustrious enough to be allowed to join us in our organization. Including such questions as ‘We physicists have to stick together, because there’s a very good chemist that they’re trying to get in, and we haven’t got enough room for so-and-so.’ What’s the matter with chemists? The whole thing was rotten, because the purpose was mostly to decide who could have this honor.
I don’t like honors.