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Nobel Prize in Physics 2020

Nobel Prize Summit

Medicine Laureate Peter Doherty was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1996 for his work on viral immunity.

In this interview he talks about the challenges our planet faces – and the lessons the pandemic has taught us about facing them.

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© Nobel Prize Outreach. Photo: Henrik Jansson

Nobel Prize conversations

“I guess I was halfway content with the idea that somehow I’d become an economist”

Laureate in Economic Sciences Robert B. Wilson didn’t really see himself as an economist until he reached the age of 50. Hear Wilson speak about his journey to becoming an economist. In this ‘Nobel Prize Conversations’ episode, Wilson also speaks about how he received the news about his Prize in Economic Sciences and the culture shock he experienced when he started to study at Harvard University.

Enjoy a new ‘Nobel Prize Conversation’!

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Nobel Laureates share their stories

Harvey J. Alter was awarded the Medicine Prize in 2020. In this interview he talks about receiving the Nobel Prize, his journey in science and the roles humour and poetry have played in his work.

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Harvey Alter in December 2020 during an interview with nobelprize.org

@ Nobel Prize Outreach. Photo: Anna Sjöström Douagi

Michael Houghton shared the Medicine Prize 2020 for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus. Here he talks  about his journey into science, his advice for students and the importance of persistence.

Michael Houghton in his lab at Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology

Dr. Michael Houghton in his lab at Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology

Photo Credit: Michael Holly, Copyright: ©University of Alberta

Jennifer Doudna grew up in a small town in Hawaii and loved the natural environment there. Nobody in her family was into sciences, but she soon decided that she wanted to be a chemist. She set off on that journey in college - and never looked back.

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Biochemist Jennifer Doudna with a model of CRISPR-Cas9.

UC Berkeley photo by Stephen McNally

Andrea Ghez was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.” Get to know her in this podcast episode.

Selfie Andrea Ghez

Photo: Andrea Ghez

Many Nobel Laureates have often faced times of enormous disruption. Rita Levi-Montalcini faced many challenges on her road to the Nobel Prize. Born in Italy in 1909, her father did not believe in professional careers for women and did not let his daughters enroll at university. But Levi-Montalcini insisted on studying. The long road to the Nobel Prize included having to build a laboratory in her bedroom during World War II.

Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita Levi-Montalcini

© Nobel Media

“I was not always the best student with the highest grades, but my teachers saw something in me and tried to encourage me.” Medicine Laureate May-Britt Moser grew up in a small town on the west coast of Norway. Later, she would uncover one of the biggest mysteries of our brain - how we know where we are and how we navigate from one place to another.

May-Britt Moser in the laboratory

Laureate May-Britt Moser in the laboratory

Photo: Geir Mo

Discover more

In their journey towards the Nobel Prize, each Nobel Laureate has looked at a problem in a new way. They have used creativity to tackle existing problems, or identify new frontiers.

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Paul Nurse speaking at a Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative event held in partnership with AstraZeneca

© Nobel Media

Throughout life we all rely on mentors to train us and guide us. It is a subject which many Nobel Laureates speak passionately about, pointing…

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May-Britt Moser meeting students during a Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative event in partnership with AstraZeneca

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

Shinya Yamanaka is a runner, a father and the man who first created stem cells from normal body cells. A pioneer of biomedical research, he describes how he was determined to find success in the face of all else.

Shinya Yamanaka

Shinya Yamanaka

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

Watch the documentary series

A team of female Yazidi deminers in Iraq attempting to clear their land of mines left behind by ISIS.  A team of scientists on an extraordinary mission in Mozambique to help better our understanding of climate change. A man building prosthetic legs to help victims of war walk again in South Sudan ... All are inspired by Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

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Nobel Prize nominations

The Norwegian Nobel Committee received 329 candidates for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. 95 of these are organizations.

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2017 Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony.

© Photo: Ken Opprann/Nobel Media

Did you know that there is no public list of the current year’s nominees for the Peace Prize? The complete list of nominees of any year’s prizes is not disclosed for 50 years. The same goes for all the prize categories. Learn more about the nomination process in a Q&A with Olav Njølstad, Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

Peace Prize nomination process

The nomination process for Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

© Nobel Media. Ill. Niklas Elmehed

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr

Nobel Prizes 2020

The Nobel Peace Prize 2020 was awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

© Nobel Media. Ill. Niklas Elmehed.

Nobel Prize Lessons

From genetic editing to combatting world hunger. An unmistakable poetic voice to black holes. New treatments for hepatitis C to the quest for the perfect auction. Now you can bring the discoveries and achievements made by the 2020 Nobel Laureates into the classroom.

The lessons are free and so easy to use that a teacher can look through the manual, watch the slides, print the texts for students and then start the class.

Nobel Medal

The Nobel Prize Medal

Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

Coming up

Alfred Nobel - Established the Nobel Prize

On 27 November 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will in Paris, France. The Swedish dynamite millionaire, who thought that his invention would end all wars, had now realised that it was a very deadly product. Wanting to make amends, he did what no man of such wealth had done before ...

Alfred Nobel Will

On 10 December 1901 the first Nobel Prizes were awarded, in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. Read more about the first prizes.

The first Nobel Prize Award Ceremony was held in 1901 at the Royal Academy of Music, Stockholm.

Chemist, engineer and industrialist Alfred Nobel left 31 million SEK (today about 265 million dollar) to fund the Nobel Prizes. Read more about his life and work.

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Nobel destinations

Stockholm, Sweden
The Nobel Prize: Ideas Changing the World (3)

The museum showcases the discoveries and creativity of the Nobel Laureates.

Photo: Åke Eson Lindman

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The story of each Peace Laureate is told at the museum.

Photo: Johannes Granseth / Nobel Peace Center

In memoriam

Economist Robert Mundell passed away on 4 April. He was awarded the 1999 Prize in Economic Sciences for work on monetary dynamics and optimum currency areas. His theories had relevance for the introduction of the euro as the European Union's currency.

Isamu Akasaki passed away on 1 April. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2014 "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources."

Isamu Akasaki

Chemistry Laureate Paul J. Crutzen passed away on 28 January. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for work in atmospheric chemistry, a work that led to extensive limitations on the release of ozone-damaging substances.

Paul J. Crutzen

Martinus J.G. Veltman, was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics for contributions concerning electromagnetic and weak interactions of the building blocks of matter. He passed away on 4 January at age 89.

Veltman