Transcript of Diaz Caneja Award acceptance speech

Videotaped on November 16, 2001
Delivered on tape on November 23, 2001

First of all, it is a pleasure to thank Prof Sanz and the University for choosing me for the honor of receiving the Diaz-Caneja award for this year.

I believe I should equally thank Prof Pastor and his associates who must have been prime movers behind my selection.

I am very unhappy than I cannot be present in person, but I am physically not in a good shape to travel and a visit might be a social embarrassment.

I fear that I must have wasted many people's time with my indecisiveness.

Not only Dr. Pastor and his associates but such of my friends who were persuaded to interrupt their schedules on the pretext that we could all be present together at this celebration.

I am consoled by the thought that they will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy a few days of Spanish hospitality while I am stuck here in New York.

Privately, I am distracted by possibility that those who do not know me might believe that any decision not to fly was influenced by external social factors rather than my health.

It is also to be regretted that I will be missing the opportunity to meet again the many bright ladies with whom I have had the opportunity to collaborate, thanks to the intervention of Dr. Pastor.

I was impressed by the level of competence that they exhibited while working with me at Stanford and then at Columbia.

I regret that the collaboration has been inactive during the last few years.

I do not wish to leave an entirely gloomy impression of my situation, because I believe that the level of original experimental activity in my laboratory is as high as it ever has been.

I am presently excited by a clinical project that makes use of a previously unexploited experimental technique.

Its design in fact has been so refined that its basis can be demonstrated on this tape.

Though developed only recently I believe this idea has been at the back of my mind for about 75 years.

The actual experiment is basically as follows.

This is a cornea rejected by the local eye-bank.

This is placed on a steel mounting, then it is subjected to a controlled biomechanical impact injury.

[ ... Demonstration of impact injury with a heavy duty steel hammer. ... ]

I intend to provide a more detailed report of the technique and its interpretation at the upcoming ARVO meeting.

I hope that this interpretation may lead to improvements in the technique of corneal refractive surgery.

Diaz-Caneja was remarkably original contributor to the field of binocular rivalry.

This is not my field but it is an honor to have my name adjoined to the remarkable men who have received this award previously, some of whom are my good friends.

I would like my puny blow not only to shake open the mystery of how tissues recover from injury but also signify my pride in accepting the Diaz-Caneja Award for 2001.