The Nobel Prize in Physics

Awarded the first Nobel Prize in Physics, Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-radiation. This X-ray tube became a frequently used instrument in medicine after this discovery.

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

About the prize

“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- - -/ one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics ...” (Excerpt from the will of Alfred Nobel)

Physics was the prize area which Alfred Nobel mentioned first in his will from 1895. At the end of the nineteenth century, many people considered physics as the foremost of the sciences, and perhaps Nobel saw it this way as well. His own research was also closely tied to physics.

The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.

See all physics laureates or learn more about the nomination process.

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 rewards new understanding of the universe’s structure and history, and the first discovery of a planet orbiting a solar-type star outside our solar system. This year’s Laureates have contributed to answering fundamental questions about our existence. What happened in the early infancy of the universe and what happened next? Could there be other planets out there, orbiting other suns?

Read the press release
Read the scientific background
Learn more in the popular information

© Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics are awarded ”for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos”, with one half to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology” and the other half jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”

Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media.

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“I want to take this space to tell any budding scientist that, however bleak the future may seem due to illness or other problems, one cannot say you will not be successful.” Kosterlitz was diagnosed with MS in 1978.

J. Michael Kosterlitz

J. Michael Kosterlitz, Nobel Prize in Physics 2016

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

Discover how the 2014 physics laureates tamed the unruly semiconductor gallium nitride, paving the way for blue LEDs. This efficient, versatile light source has been a boon to areas without electricity grids.

Blue LED and Reflection

The blue LED: an energy- efficient, environmentally-friendly light source

Photo: Public domain

Read what caused the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to exclaim, “Here, at last!” The Higgs particle completed the Standard Model of particle physics which describes building blocks of the universe.

Portrait of Peter Higgs

Portrait of Peter Higgs, during a visit to CERN in 2008

© CERN 2008. Photo: Claudia Marcelloni

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