MY LORD I have learned with the greatest regret today that our honorary fellow, Prof Jerzy Vetulani has unfortunately passed away, shortly after 9 pm Oxford time on Thursday. I am sure that the whole House would like to join me in sharing the condolences with the family of Prof Vetulani on this very sad day.
Prof Vetulani was a true hero of our times: bravely defending the basic sciences of neurology and psychology, engaging with the public and inspiring generations of young doctors and scientists.
His death taught us all a lesson about the fragility of human life and how abruptly it can be ended. The usual road back home from the labs, lectures or clinical work could be our last one, as it unfortunately was in Prof Vetulani’s case.
For Prof Vetulani, the human soul itself was an object of fascination from the scientific and neurological points of view. If MacDougall had been right, he argued, and the soul had indeed weighed 21 grams, following Einstein’s E=mc2 theorem, it would have generated enough energy to implode the universe. I am sure the House would not argue with the scientific merit of Prof Vetulani’s explanation here.
Little time do we have in our busy work to pause and reflect on the passing of life. Our careers, as bright and promising as they may be, are subject to the same laws of coincidence and misfortune shared by all mortals.
MY LORD The world of neurosciences has lost a monumental person, but the message conveyed by Prof Vetulani will never be forgotten. His oratory skill will always be alive and well in our lives, his witty remarks will brighten our darkest days, and his discoveries and publications will give foundation to further research and advancement of neurological sciences.
Prof Vetulani made sure that every moment of his life was meaningful. He strived to make the suffering patients better, to influence the Public Health policies, and to educate and inspire the generations to come. In that, he has built himself a monument more lasting than bronze.
Though his light has perished, the torch of scientific discoveries has not. He has passed it on to us, just like a successful yet tired runner relays the Olympic flame, in the hope that we shall make him proud in our tracks, feats and endeavours of the Greatest Show on Earth.
MY LORD, let us make him proud.
And I beg this motion to the House.
Image courtesy of Pawel Ulatowski, Polityka