Civilisation/Nobel Prizes

From Quiz Revision Notes


The Nobel Prizes are prizes awarded annually to people (and, in the case of the Peace Prize, to organizations) who have completed outstanding research, invented ground-breaking techniques or equipment, or made an outstanding contribution to society in physics, chemistry, literature, peace, medicine or physiology and economics.

The Prizes were instituted by the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel through his will. They were first awarded in 1901, five years after Nobel's death. The prize in economics, instituted by the Bank of Sweden, has been awarded since 1969.

Prizes cannot be revoked. Since 1974, no award may be made posthumously.

The Prizes are then awarded at formal ceremonies held annually on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death.

A prize may not be shared among more than three people.

The Peace Prize ceremony has been held at the Norwegian Nobel Institute (1905–1946); the Aula of the University of Oslo (1947–1990); and most recently at the Oslo City Hall. As of 2005, the other Prize ceremonies have been held at the Stockholm Concert Hall.

Since 1902, the King of Sweden has, with the exception of the Peace Prize, presented all the prizes in Stockholm

The Nobel Prize amount is currently set at Swedish kronor (SEK) 8 million per full Nobel Prize

In the history of the Nobel Prize, there have been only four people to have received two Nobel Prizes. These are:

  • Marie Curie – Physics (1903) and Chemistry (1911)
  • Linus Pauling – Chemistry (1954) and Peace (1962)
  • John Bardeen – Physics (1956 and 1972)
  • Frederick Sanger – Chemistry (1958 and 1980)

Frederick Sanger is the only Briton and the only living person to have received two Nobel Prizes

Only two people have the distinction of being an Oscar winner and a Nobel Laureate –

  • George Bernard Shaw, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925, won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1938
  • Bob Dylan, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016, won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2000

Marie Curie shared her Nobel Prize in Physics (1903) with her husband Pierre Curie (and with Henri Becquerel). Her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and son-in-law, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, would similarly share a Nobel Prize. She was the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and is the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences

Oldest winner – John Goodenough, for Chemistry in 2019. Aged 97

Youngest winner – Malala Yousafzai. Aged 17

Niels Bohr (Physics, 1922) and his son, Aage (Physics, 1975) won Nobel Prizes

Jan and Niko Tinbergen are the only brothers to win Nobel Prizes

William Bragg and his son, Lawrence Bragg, won the prize for Physics in 1915 for their work on X-ray crystallography’

Husband and wife team, May-Britt and Edvard Moser from Norway, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014

Ronald Ross was the first Briton to win a Nobel Prize (Physiology or Medicine, 1902) for his work on malaria

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was the first woman after Marie Curie to be awarded alone a Nobel Prize in science

Hideki Yukawa was the first Japanese to win a Nobel Prize, in 1949

Andre Geim is the only winner of a Nobel Prize and an Ig Nobel prize (for magnetically levitating a frog)

Alfred Michelson was the first American to receive a Nobel Prize in sciences

First Nobel Prize awarded for astronomical research – Ryle and Hewish (Physics) in 1974

Ernest Walton was the first Irishman to win a Nobel Prize in science

Arnold Sommerfeld was nominated for the Nobel Prize 84 times, more than any other physicist (including Otto Stern, who got nominated 82 times), but he never received the award

People who have declined a Nobel Prize –

  • John Paul Sartre (Literature, 1964)
  • Le Duc Tho (Peace, 1973)

People who were forced to decline a Nobel Prize –

  • Richard Kuhn, Adolf Butenandt and Gerhard Domagk – by Hitler
  • Boris Pasternak (Literature, 1958) – by the Soviet Union

Nobel Peace Prize

Notable Winners

1901 Henry Dunant and Frederic Passy Dunant founded the International Red Cross Movement
1903 Randal Cremer First British winner
1904 Institute of International Law
1905 Bertha von Suttner First female winner. Austrian
1906 Theodore Roosevelt for brokering the Treaty of Portsmouth. First American winner
1917 International Committee of the Red Cross Also won in 1944 and 1963
1919 Woodrow Wilson for promoting the League of Nations
1922 Fridtjof Nansen for his work as a League of Nations High Commissioner
1925 Austen Chamberlain for the Locarno Treaties
1929 Frank Kellogg For the Kellogg-Briand Pact
1934 Arthur Henderson for his work for the League of Nations in disarmament
1935 Carl von Ossietzky for his struggle against Germany's rearmament
1937 Robert Cecil for his work with the League of Nations
1945 Cordell Hull for his role in establishing the United Nations
1950 Ralph Bunche First African American to win
1952 Albert Schweitzer for founding a hospital in Gabon
1953 George Marshall for the European Recovery Program, known as the Marshall Plan
1954 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Also won in 1981
1957 Lester B Pearson for helping to resolve the Suez Crisis
1960 Albert Luthuli President of the ANC. First African to win
1961 Dag Hammarskjöld Awarded posthumously
1962 Linus Pauling for his campaign against nuclear weapons testing
1964 Martin Luther King
1965 United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
1969 International Labour Organization
1970 Norman Borlaug for developing strains of high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat for developing countries
1971 Willy Brandt
1973 Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho Le Duc Tho declined the award
1975 Andrei Sakharov
1976 Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Founders of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement
1977 Amnesty International
1978 Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin Sadat was the first Muslim Nobel laureate
1979 Mother Teresa Founder of Missionaries of Charity
1983 Lech Walesa Founder of Solidarity
1984 Desmond Tutu
1986 Elie Wiesel Born in Romania. Holocaust survivor
1987 Oscar Arias President of Costa Rica
1988 United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces
1989 Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
1990 Mikhail Gorbachev
1991 Aung San Suu Kyi
1992 Rigoberta Menchu Guatemala
1993 Nelson Mandela and Frederik de Klerk
1994 Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres
1995 Joseph Rotblat and Pugwash Conferences Pugwash is a village in Nova Scotia
1996 Carlos Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta East Timor
1997 International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and Jody Williams
1998 John Hume and David Trimble
1999 Medicins Sans Frontieres
2000 Kim Dae Jung for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea
2001 United Nations and Kofi Annan
2002 Jimmy Carter
2003 Shirin Ebadi Iran. First Muslim female winner
2004 Wangari Maathai Kenya
2005 International Atomic Energy Agency and Mohamed ElBaradei for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes
2006 Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for microcredit work in Bangladesh
2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore
2008 Martti Ahtisaari Former President of Finland
2009 Barack Obama
2010 Liu Xiaobo for his struggle for fundamental human rights in China
2011 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia) and Tawakkul Karman (Yemen) for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights
2012 European Union
2013 Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
2014 Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi
2015 Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet
2016 Juan Manuel Santos President of Colombia
2017 International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
2018 Dennis Mugwege (Congo) and Nadia Murad (Iraq) for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict
2019 Abiy Ahmed Ai Prime Minister of Ethiopia
2020 World Food Programme

Nobel Prize in Literature

Award of 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature postponed until the following year following a crisis over sexual assault allegations aimed at French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault at the organisation which decides the winner

France has won the most awards (17)

Rudyard Kipling is the youngest person to win the award

Notable Winners

1901 Sully Prudhomme French poet and essayist
1902 Theodore Mommsen principally for The History of Rome
1907 Rudyard Kipling First British winner
1909 Selma Lagerlof First female winner. Swedish
1911 Maurice Maeterlinck Belgium
1913 Rabindranath Tagore India. First non-European winner
1921 Anatole France
1923 WB Yeats First Irish winner
1925 George Bernard Shaw
1927 Henri Bergson
1929 Thomas Mann principally for Buddenbrooks
1930 Sinclair Lewis First American winner
1932 John Galsworthy principally for The Forsyte Saga. Second British winner
1933 Ivan Bunin First Russian winner
1934 Luigi Pirandello
1936 Eugene O’Neill
1938 Pearl Buck First female American winner
1945 Gabriela Mistral Chile. First Latin American winner
1946 Hermann Hesse
1948 TS Eliot
1949 William Faulkner
1950 Bertrand Russell
1953 Winston Churchill
1954 Ernest Hemingway principally for The Old Man and the Sea
1957 Albert Camus First African-born winner
1958 Boris Pasternak Declined
1962 John Steinbeck
1963 Georgos Seferis Greek Ambassador to UK
1964 John-Paul Sartre Declined
1965 Mikhail Sholokhov
1967 Miguel Asturias Guatemala
1968 Yasunari Kawabata First Japanese winner
1969 Samuel Beckett
1970 Alexander Solzhenitsyn
1971 Pablo Neruda Chile
1973 Patrick White First Australian winner
1976 Saul Bellow
1978 Isaac Singer Works in Yiddish
1982 Gabriel Garcia Marquez
1983 William Golding
1986 Wole Soyinka First African winner. Born in Nigeria
1988 Jose Saramago Portugal
1990 Octavio Paz
1991 Nadime Gordimer First South African winner
1992 Derek Walcott Saint Lucia
1993 Toni Morrison First Afro-American winner
1995 Seamus Heaney
1997 Dario Fo
1999 Gunter Grass Born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland
2001 VS Naipaul Born in Trinidad
2002 Imre Kertesz Hungary
2003 J.M. Coetzee South Africa
2004 Elfriede Jelinek Austria
2005 Harold Pinter
2006 Orhan Pamuk Turkey
2007 Doris Lessing Born in Persia
2008 J.M.G. Le Clezio France
2009 Herta Muller Germany. Born in Romania
2010 Mario Vargas Llosa Peru
2011 Tomas Transtromer Sweden
2012 Mo Yan China
2013 Alice Munro Canada
2014 Patrick Modiano France
2015 Svetlana Alexievich Belarus. Born in Ukraine
2016 Bob Dylan
2017 Kazuo Ishiguro
2018 Olga Tokarczuk Poland
2019 Peter Handke Austria
2020 Louise Gluck USA

Nobel Prize in Physics

Niels Bohr (1922) and his son, Aage (1975) both won the Nobel Prize in Physics

William Bragg and his son, Lawrence Bragg, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915 for their work on X-ray crystallography’. Lawrence was 25 at the time

Swedish physicists Manne Siegbahn and his son Kai both received the Nobel Prize in Physics

JJ Thomson and his son George Paget Thomson both won the Nobel Prize in Physics

First Nobel Prize awarded for astronomical research was won by Martin Ryle and Anthony Hewish in 1974

Only three women have won the Nobel Prize in physics – Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018

C.V. Raman was the first Asian person to receive a Nobel Prize in any branch of science

Notable winners

1901 Wilhelm Rontgen for the discovery of X-rays
1903 Antoine Becquerel, Marie Curie and Pierre Curie for their work on radioactivity
1904 Lord Rayleigh for the discovery of argon
1906 JJ Thomson for the discovery of the electron
1907 Alfred Michelson for The Michelson–Morley experiment which proved that the ether does not exist
1909 Marconi and Braun for their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy
1910 Johannes Diderik van der Waals for his work on the equation of state for gases and liquids
1912 Gustaf Dalen for the invention of automatic regulators for use in conjunction with gas accumulators for illuminating lighthouses and buoys
1913 Heike Onnes for his investigations on the properties of matter at low temperatures which led to the production of liquid helium
1914 Max von Laue for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals
1918 Max Planck for his discovery of energy quanta
1921 Albert Einstein for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect
1922 Niels Bohr for his services in the investigation of the structure of atoms and of the radiation emanating from them
1923 Robert Millikan for his work on the elementary charge of electricity and on the photoelectric effect
1925 Franck and Hertz for their discovery of the laws governing the impact of an electron upon an atom
1927 Charles Wilson

Arthur Compton

for work on the cloud chamber

for discovery of the Compton effect, which demonstrated the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation

1929 Louis de Broglie for his discovery of the wave nature of electrons
1930 C.V. Raman for his work on the scattering of light
1932 Werner Heisenberg for the creation of quantum mechanics
1933 Paul Dirac and Erwin Schrodinger for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory
1935 James Chadwick for the discovery of the neutron
1936 Carl Anderson

Victor Franz Hess

for the discovery of the positron

for the discovery of cosmic rays

1938 Enrico Fermi for his demonstrations of the existence of new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation, and for his related discovery of nuclear reactions brought about by slow neutrons
1939 Ernest Lawrence for the invention of the cyclotron
1945 Wolfgang Pauli for the discovery of the Exclusion Principle
1947 Edward Appleton for his investigations of the physics of the upper atmosphere especially for the discovery of the Appleton layer
1949 Hideki Yukawa for his prediction of the existence of mesons on the basis of theoretical work on nuclear forces
1951 Cockcroft and Walton for splitting the atom
1954 Max Born for his fundamental research in quantum mechanics
1955 Willis Lamb for his discoveries concerning the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum
1956 Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley for inventing the transistor
1958 Pavel Cherenkov for the discovery of Cherenkov radiation
1959 Chamberlain and Segre for their discovery of the antiproton
1960 Donald Glaser for the invention of the bubble chamber
1962 Lev Landau for work on superfluidity
1963 Eugene Wigner

Johannes Jensen and Maria Goeppert Mayer

for laying the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics

for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus

1965 Richard Feynman for his work on quantum electrodynamics
1966 Lee, Osheroff and Richardson for the discovery of superfluidity in helium-3
1967 Hans Bethe for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions, especially his discoveries concerning the energy production in stars
1968 Luis Walter Alvarez for his decisive contributions to elementary particle physics
1969 Murray Gell-Mann for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions
1971 Dennis Gabor for his invention and development of the holographic method
1972 Bardeen, Cooper and Schriffer for the theory of superconductivity
1973 Brian Josephson for his pioneering theoretical work on superconductivity
1974 Martin Ryle and Anthony Hewish for their pioneering research in radio astrophysics
1978 Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson for their discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation
1979 Glashow, Salem and Weinberg for their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles
1983 Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars
1986 Gerd Binnig, Heinrich Rohrer and Ernst Ruska for their design of the scanning tunneling microscope (Binnig and Rohrer) and the electron microscope (Ruska)
1995 Martin Perl and Frederick Reines for the discovery of the tau lepton (Perl) and the neutrino (Reines)
2000 Jack Kilby for the invention of the integrated circuit
2006 John Mather and George Smoot for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation
2010 Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for groundbreaking experiments regarding graphene
2011 Perlmutter, Schmidt and Riess for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae
2014 Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Notable Winners

1901 Jacobus H. van ’t Hoff for his work on osmotic pressure
1902 Hermann Fischer for his work on sugar and purine synthesis
1903 Svante Arrhenius For his electrolytic theory of dissociation
1904 William Ramsay for his discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air
1905 Adolf von Baeyer for his work on organic dyes
1906 Henri Moissan for his work in isolating fluorine from its compounds
1908 Ernest Rutherford for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances
1909 Wilhelm Ostwald for his work on catalysis
1911 Marie Curie for the discovery of radium and polonium
1912 Victor Grignard for the discovery of the Grignard reagent
1918 Fritz Haber for the synthesis of ammonia from its elements
1921 Frederick Soddy for his investigations into the origin and nature of isotopes
1935 Frederic Joliet and Irene Joliet-Curie for their synthesis of new radioactive elements
1944 Otto Hahn for his discovery of the fission of heavy nuclei
1951 Glenn Seaborg and Edwin McMillan for discoveries in the chemistry of the transuranium elements
1958 Frederick Sanger for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin
1960 Willard Libby for his method to use carbon-14 for age determination
1961 Melvin Calvin for his research on the carbon dioxide assimilation in plants
1964 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin for the discovery of the structure of vitamin B12
1965 Robert Burns Woodward for the synthesis natural products including vitamin B12
1980 Frederick Sanger for the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids
1993 Kary Mulis for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method
1995 Crutzen, Molina and Rowland for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone
2020 Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for the development of a method for genome editing

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded yearly by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute

Husband and wife team Carl and Gerti Cori from Czechoslovakia won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947. Gerti Cory was first female winner of the prize

Husband and wife team, May-Britt and Edvard Moser from Norway, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014

Elizabeth Blackburn became the first Australian woman Nobel laureate in 2009 for her discovery of telomerase

Tu Youyou was the first Chinese woman Nobel laureate

In 2011, Ralph Steinman was awarded the prize; however, unknown to the committee, he had died three days before the announcement

Notable Winners

1901 Emil von Behring for discovery of a diphtheria antitoxin
1902 Ronald Ross For his work on the transmission of malaria
1904 Ivan Pavlov for research pertaining to the digestive system
1905 Robert Koch for his tuberculosis findings
1906 Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramon y Cajal in recognition of their work on the structure of the nervous system
1908 Paul Ehrlich for work on immunity
1923 Banting and Macleod for the discovery of insulin. Banting shared the award with Best
1929 Frederick Hopkins for the discovery of vitamins
1930 Karl Landsteiner for his discovery of human blood groups
1932 Sherrington and Adrian for their discoveries regarding the functions of neurons
1933 Thomas Hunt Morgan for his discoveries concerning the role played by the chromosome in heredity
1936 Otto Loewi and Henry Dale for their discoveries relating to chemical transmission of nerve impulses
1943 Henrik Dam and Edward Doisy for the discovery of Vitamin K
1945 Fleming, Chain and Florey for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases
1948 Paul Muller for his discovery of the high efficiency of DDT as a contact poison
1949 Antonio Moniz for his discovery of the therapeutic value of leucotomy (lobotomy) in certain psychoses
1952 Selman Waksman for his discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis
1953 Hans Krebs for his discovery of the citric acid cycle
1958 George Beadle and Edward Tatum for their discovery of the role of genes in regulating biochemical events within cells
1960 Peter Medawar and Frank Burnet for the discovery of acquired immunological tolerance
1962 Crick, Watson, and Wilkins for discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material
1965 Jacques Monod and Francois Jacob their discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis
1973 Niko Tinbergen, Karl von Frisch and Konrad Lorenz for their discoveries concerning social behaviour patterns in animals
1983 Barbara McClintock for the discovery of jumping genes
1988 James W Black for the development of beta-blockers
1993 Richard Roberts and Philip Sharp for the discovery of split genes
2001 Hunt, Nurse and Brenner for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle
2003 Peter Mansfield and Paul Lauterbur for discoveries concerning Magnetic Resonance Imaging
2008 Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier for the discovery of HIV
2010 Robert Edwards for the development of in vitro fertilization
2015 Tu Youyou for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against malaria

Nobel Prize in Economics

Full name of Nobel Prize in Economics is “Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel”

Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019 awarded to Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, who are the sixth married couple to jointly win a Nobel Prize

Notable Winners

1969 Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen for work on econometrics
1970 Paul Samuelson First American winner
1972 John Hicks First British winner
1973 Wassily Leontief Identified the paradox that the U.S. (the most capital-abundant country in the world by any criteria) exported labour-intensive commodities and imported capital-intensive commodities
1974 Friedrich Hayek for work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations
1976 Milton Friedman
1981 James Tobin
1994 John Nash Game theory
1998 Amartya Sen for his contributions to welfare economics
2008 Paul Krugman for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography
2009 Elinor Ostrom First woman to win
2017 Richard Thaler Nudge theory
2019 Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo Second woman to win
2020 Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats

Nobel Prize Winners in 2021

Peace Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression"
Literature Abdulrazak Gurnah “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents”
Physics Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, Giorgio Parisi “for groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex systems”
Chemistry Benjamin List and David MacMillan “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis”
Physiology or Medicine David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian “for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch”
Economics David Card “for his empirical contributions to labour economics”

Joshua D. Angrist and Guido W. Imbens “for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships”