Frances H. Arnold


Frances H. Arnold

© Nobel Media AB. Photo: A. Mahmoud

Frances H. Arnold
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018

Born: 25 July 1956, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for the directed evolution of enzymes”

Prize share: 1/2


Frances Arnold was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States. She studied mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University. She then continued her studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a doctorate in chemical engineering in 1985. She has subsequently worked at the California Institute of Technology. She became interested in energy technology early and formed a company in 2005 to produce renewable fuels.


Evolution – the adaption of species to different environments – has created an enormous diversity of life. Frances Arnold has used the same principles – genetic change and selection – to develop proteins that solve humankind’s chemical problems. In 1993, Arnold conducted the first directed evolution of enzymes, which are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. The uses of her results include more environmentally friendly manufacturing of chemical substances, such as pharmaceuticals, and the production of renewable fuels.

To cite this section
MLA style: Frances H. Arnold – Facts – 2018. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Thu. 20 Jun 2024. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Explore and learn

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.