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Lists of Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Lists of Nobel Prizes and Laureates
Rosalyn Yalow

Facts on the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

On 27 November 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes, the Nobel Prizes. As described in Nobel's will, one part was dedicated to "the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine". Learn more about the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine from 1901 to 2014.


Numbers

Number of Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine

105 Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been awarded since 1901. It was not awarded on nine occasions: in 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1921, 1925, 1940, 1941 and 1942.

Why were the Medicine Prizes not awarded in those years? In the statutes of the Nobel Foundation it says: "If none of the works under consideration is found to be of the importance indicated in the first paragraph, the prize money shall be reserved until the following year. If, even then, the prize cannot be awarded, the amount shall be added to the Foundation's restricted funds." During World War I and II, fewer Nobel Prizes were awarded.


Illustration

Shared and Unshared Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine

38 Medicine Prizes have been given to one Laureate only.
32 Medicine Prizes have been shared by two Laureates.
35 Medicine Prizes have been shared between three Laureates.

Why is that? In the statutes of the Nobel Foundation it says: A prize amount may be equally divided between two works, each of which is considered to merit a prize. If a work that is being rewarded has been produced by two or three persons, the prize shall be awarded to them jointly. In no case may a prize amount be divided between more than three persons.


Medicine Laureates

Number of Nobel Laureates* in Physiology or Medicine

207 individuals have been awarded 1901-2014.

List of all Nobel Prize Laureates in Physiology or Medicine


Laureates

Nobel Laureate Birthdays

Among the Nobel Laureates, the two most common dates for birthdays are 21 May and 28 February.

List of Nobel Laureate Birthdays


Nobel Laureates

Average Age

The average age of all Medicine Laureates between 1901 and 2014 is 58 years.

Medicine Laureates and age
All Nobel Laureates listed by age


Frederick G. Banting

Youngest Medicine Laureate

To date, the youngest Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine is Frederick G. Banting, who was 32 years old when he was awarded the Medicine Prize in 1923.


Peyton Rous

Oldest Medicine Laureate

The oldest Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine to date is Peyton Rous, who was 87 years old when he was awarded the Medicine Prize in 1966.


Illustration

Female Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine

Of the 207 individuals awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, only 11 are women. Of these 11, Barabara McClintock is the only one who has received an unshared Nobel Prize.

1947 - Gerty Cori
1977 - Rosalyn Yalow
1983 - Barbara McClintock
1986 - Rita Levi-Montalcini
1988 - Gertrude B. Elion
1995 - Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
2004 - Linda B. Buck
2008 - Françoise Barré-Sinoussi
2009 - Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Carol W. Greider
2014 - May-Britt Moser

List of all female Nobel Laureates


Numbers

Multiple Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine

No one has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine more than once. Yet ...

List of multiple Nobel Laureates within other prize categories


Dag Hammarskjöld

Posthumous Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine

There have been no posthumous Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine. From 1974, the Statutes of the Nobel Foundation stipulate that a Prize cannot be awarded posthumously, unless death has occurred after the announcement of the Nobel Prize. Before 1974, the Nobel Prize has only been awarded posthumously twice: to Dag Hammarskjöld (Nobel Peace Prize 1961) and Erik Axel Karlfeldt (Nobel Prize in Literature 1931).

Following the 2011 announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, it was discovered that one of the Medicine Laureates, Ralph Steinman, had passed away three days earlier. The Board of the Nobel Foundation examined the statutes, and an interpretation of the purpose of the rule above lead to the conclusion that Ralph Steinman should continue to remain a Nobel Laureate, as the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet had announced the 2011 Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine without knowing of his death.


Tree

Family Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine

Married couples:
Gerty Cori and Carl Cori
, both awarded the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser, both awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Father & son:
Hans von Euler-Chelpin
(Chemistry Prize) and Ulf von Euler (Medicine Prize)
Arthur Kornberg (Medicine Prize) and Roger D. Kornberg (Chemistry Prize)

Brothers:
Jan Tinbergen
(Economics Prize) and Nikolaas Tinbergen (Medicine Prize)


Hand

Forced to Decline the Nobel Prize

One Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine has been forced by authorities to decline the Nobel Prize. Adolf Hitler forbade three German Nobel Laureates from accepting the Nobel Prize, including Gerhard Domagk, who was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The other two Laureates were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Richard Kuhn in 1938 and Adolf Butenandt in 1939. All of them could later receive the Nobel Prize Diploma and Medal, but not the prize amount.


Cell

Medicine Laureates and their Fields

The most common research field for Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine is genetics. It is the field for 48 Nobel Laureates.

Medicine Laureates and Fields


Laureates

Nobel Laureate Partnerships in Biomedical Science

Many long scientific partnerships have resulted in Nobel Prizes:

Partners Years of
Partnership
Dates
Michael S. Brown & Joseph L. Goldstein 40 1972-present
Carl Cori & Gerty Cori 34 1922-56
William H. Stein & Stanford Moore 33 1939-72
André F. Cournand & Dickinson W. Richards 30 1932-62
George H. Hitchings & Gertrude B. Elion 23 1944-67
David H. Hubel & Torsten N. Wiesel 20 1958-78
J. Michael Bishop & Harold E. Varmus 19 1971-90
Philip S. Hench & Edward C. Kendall 16 1934-50
Edmond H. Fischer & Edwin G. Krebs 11 1953-64
François Jacob & Jacques Monod 9 1957-66
James Watson & Francis Crick 2 1951-53

List compiled in 2012, courtesy of Joseph L. Goldstein.


Envelope

Nominations for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

In the nomination database, you can find interesting nomination trivia, for example, that the Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was nominated 32 times for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, but never awarded. In 1929, the Nobel Committee for Medicine engaged an expert who concluded that a further investigation in Freud was not necessary, since Freud's work was of no proven scientific value. Freud was also nominated once for the 1936 Nobel Prize in Literature by Nobel Laureate Romain Rolland, an acquaintance of Freud.

The nominations for the Nobel Prizes are kept secret for 50 years.

Explore the nomination database for the Nobel Prizes


Nobel Medal

The Nobel Medal for Physiology and Medicine

The Nobel Medal for Physiology and Medicine was designed by Swedish sculptor and engraver Erik Lindberg and represents the Genius of Medicine holding an open book in her lap, collecting the water pouring out from a rock in order to quench a sick girl's thirst.

Read more about Nobel Medal for Physiology and Medicine


Diploma

The Nobel Diplomas

Each Nobel Diploma is a unique work of art, created by foremost Swedish and Norwegian artists and calligraphers.

More about the Nobel Diplomas


Diagram

The Nobel Prize Amount

Alfred Nobel left most of his estate, more than SEK 31 million (today approximately SEK 1,702 million) to be converted into a fund and invested in "safe securities." The income from the investments was to be "distributed annually in the form of prizes to those who during the preceding year have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind."

The Nobel Prize amount for 2014 is set at Swedish kronor (SEK) 8.0 million per full Nobel Prize.

More about the Nobel Prize Amount


Laurel

* Why are the individuals and organisations awarded a Nobel Prize called Nobel Laureates?

The word "Laureate" refers to being signified by the laurel wreath. In Greek mythology, the god Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head. A laurel wreath is a circular crown made of branches and leaves of the bay laurel (in Latin: Laurus nobilis). In Ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honour - both in athletic competitions and in poetic meets.


Links to more facts on the Nobel Prizes:
Facts on the Nobel Prize in Physics
Facts on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Facts on the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Facts on the Nobel Prize in Literature
Facts on the Nobel Peace Prize
Facts on the Prize in Economic Sciences
Facts on all Nobel Prizes

 

 

First published 5 October 2009.

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