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Nobel Prize in Physics

A century ago, Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves. On 14 September 2015, the LIGO collaboration of more than 1,200 physicists finally observed those gravitational waves for the very first time, from two black holes that merged 1.3 billion years ago.

The observation led to a completely new way to study our universe as well as the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne. On 3 October, we will know who will be awarded this year.

See the full schedule of announcements.
Gravity Waves Still Image

Image: LIGO/T. Pyle

Nobel Prize awarded discoveries

Nobel Prize in Physics 1957
Wishing a happy 101st birthday to theoretical physicist Chen Ning Yang! At the age of 29, Yang became the youngest ever full professor at Columbia University. When he was 35 years old, Yang shared the 1957 physics prize with Tsung Dao Lee “for their penetrating investigation of the so-called parity laws which has led to important discoveries regarding the elementary particles.”
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Chen Ning Yang at his office at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Photo: Institute for Advanced Study/Alan Richards.

Nobel Prizes and X-rays

What impact did the discovery of X-rays have on our daily lives? Learn more about X-rays, which were discovered by Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895. He was awarded the very first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901 for his work.

Who did what?

Featured Nobel Prize laureates in physics

Nobel Prize in Physics 1903
Marie and Pierre Curie made pioneering research together for many years. They came upon a very active substance they later called radium. Read their story.
Pierre and Marie Curie

Pierre and Marie Curie.

© Association Curie Joliot-Curie, Photographer unknown

Nobel Prize in Physics 2018
Learn why physics laureate Donna Strickland thinks it’s so important to maintain an element of wonder when doing science.
Donna Strickland in the laboratory

Donna Strickland in the laboratory.

Courtesy of University of Waterloo

Nobel Prize in Physics 2021
The 2021 physics laureates laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how humanity influences it, as well as revolutionized the theory of disordered materials and random processes.

©Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Coming up

Explore prizes and laureates

Between 1901 and 2022, the Nobel Prizes and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel were awarded 615 times to 989 people and organisations. See the full list here.
Nobel Prize award ceremony 2022

Nobel Prize award ceremony 2022.

© Nobel Prize Outreach. Photo: Clément Morin

The Nobel Prize call

I think it's a shock

Surprised, overwhelmed, terrified, happy. How would you react if you suddenly heard that you had been awarded the Nobel Prize? Here, six laureates share their stories.

More about the ‘Nobel Prize call’

The Nobel Prize

Questions and answers

The Nobel Prize categories are physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace and were laid out in the will of Alfred Nobel. Find out more in the FAQ.
The Nobel Prize medal.

The Nobel Prize medal.

© Nobel Prize Outreach. Photo: Clément Morin.

Explore and learn

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

In his last will and testament, Alfred Nobel specifically designated the institutions responsible for the prizes he wished to be established.

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Play a game!

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1930
How much do you know about blood types? Did you know that human blood groups were discovered by Nobel Prize laureate Karl Landsteiner in 1901?

Learn more about the way to find out about the human blood groups, blood typing and the importance of safe blood transfusions. See if you can save the lives of the patients in the game!
Blood typing game
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1904
Is it possible to train a dog to drool on command? Learn about conditioned reflexes in this interactive game!

With this animated game, teachers are able to illustrate classical conditioning in the classroom. The object of the game is to train Pavlov’s dog to respond to a signal that it will associate with being fed.

In 1904, Ivan Pavlov was awarded with Nobel Prize for his pioneering studies of how the digestive system works.
Pavlov's Dog Game
Step into the shoes of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and learn about the legacy of Alfred Nobel in this immersive learning experience from the Nobel Peace Center. All Minecraft players can now journey alongside Desmond Tutu, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Jody Williams and Carl von Ossietzky to bring their vision of a more democratic, peaceful world to life.
Minecraft peacebuilders

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.

What are you looking for? Search the website.

Nobel destinations

Stockholm, Sweden
The Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, illustrates a century of creativity, where visitors can follow the changes of the 20th century through the Nobel Prize and the Nobel Prize laureates.
The Nobel Prize: Ideas Changing the World (3)

The museum showcases the discoveries and creativity of the Nobel Prize laureates.

Photo: Åke Eson Lindman

Oslo, Norway
Located in the heart of Oslo, Norway, the Nobel Peace Center is a place where you can experience and learn about the various Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
NPC Nye Nobels Hage 10

The story of each peace laureate is told at the museum.

Photo: Johannes Granseth/Nobel Peace Center

In memoriam

Ferid Murad passed away on 4 September 2023. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1998 for discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system. These discoveries opened new avenues for patient treatment and diagnoses of various diseases. 

Read Ferid Murad’s biography
Ferid Murad
Harald zur Hausen passed away on 28 May, age 87. In the 1970s, he went against current dogma and postulated that oncogenic human papilloma virus (HPV) caused cervical cancer. His work led to the development of a vaccine against the disease. In 2008, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Harald zur Hausen