Alva Myrdal’s typewriter that was used when she worked actively to persuade the superpowers to disarm. (Peace 1982)

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

Women who changed the world

49 Nobel Prizes. 48 women who changed the world.

Marie Curie was the first woman to be awarded in 1903 (Physics Prize), followed by Bertha von Suttner who was awarded in 1905 (Peace Prize). As of 2017, the Nobel Prize have been awarded to women 49 times (Marie Curie is awarded twice). In 2009, the year when most women were awarded in a single year, five women were awarded.

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 2015

Discovered a novel therapy against malaria

Photo: A. Mahmoud

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 2014

Discovered the brain's positioning system

Photo: A. Mahmoud

LITERATURE 2013

Master of the contemporary short story

Photo: J. Munro

PEACE 2011

Activist for women's rights, peace and social justice

Leymah Gbowee

Photo: K. Opprann

ECONOMIC SCIENCES 2009

Studied the management of common property

Elinor Ostrom

© The Nobel Foundation. Photo: U. Montan

LITERATURE 2009

Writer depicting corruption, intolerance and repression

Herta Müller

© The Nobel Foundation. Photo: U. Montan

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 2009

Discovered the vital role of telomeres

Elizabeth H. Blackburn

© The Nobel Foundation. Photo: U. Montan

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 2009

Discovered the vital role of telomeres

Carol W. Greider

© The Nobel Foundation. Photo: U. Montan

CHEMISTRY 2009

Mapped the ribosome at the atomic level

Ada E. Yonath

© The Nobel Foundation. Photo: U. Montan

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 2008

Discovered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

© The Nobel Foundation. Photo: U. Montan

LITERATURE 2007

Wrote about how and why we live

Doris Lessing

© The Nobel Foundation. Photo: U. Montan

PEACE 2004

Founder of grass roots movement to combat deforestation

Wangari Maathai

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 2004

Discovered how our sense of smell works

Linda B. Buck

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

LITERATURE 2004

Revealed the absurdity of society's clichés in her writing

Elfriede Jelinek

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 2003

Human rights activist and lawyer

Shirin Ebadi

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 1997

Peace activist and campaigner against landmines

Jody Williams

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

LITERATURE 1996

Wrote poetry that links the past with the present

Wislawa Szymborska

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 1995

Discovered genetic mechanisms controlling early development

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

LITERATURE 1993

Depicts the historical role of African-American women in society

Toni Morrison

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 1992

Campaigner for the rights of indigenous peoples

Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

LITERATURE 1991

Depicted the consequences of apartheid

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 1991

Led a struggle for democracy and human rights in Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 1988

Discovered important principles for drug treatment

Gertrude B. Elion

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 1986

Investigated how the nervous system grows and develops

Rita Levi-Montalcini

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 1983

Discovered mobile genetic elements, "jumping genes"

Barbara McClintock

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 1982

Played a central role in the United Nations' disarmament negotiations

Alva Myrdal

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 1979

Worked for the poor in Calcutta through her order, the Missionaries of Charity

Mother Teresa

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 1977

Developed a methodology for the determination of protein hormones in the blood

Rosalyn Yalow

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 1976

Founded a grass roots movement against violence in Northern Ireland

Betty Williams

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 1976

Founded a grass roots movement against violence in Northern Ireland

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

LITERATURE 1966

Presented the cultural heritage of the Jewish people

Nelly Sachs

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

CHEMISTRY 1964

Determined the crystal structures of penicillin and vitamin B12

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PHYSICS 1963

Made the first advanced model of nuclear structure

Maria Goeppert Mayer

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 1947

Proved insight into glycogen and glucose metabolism

Gerty Cori

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 1946

Leader of the American peace movement

Emily Greene Balch

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

LITERATURE 1945

Wrote lyrical poetry on the theme of love, betrayal and nature

Gabriela Mistral

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

LITERATURE 1938

Portrayed peasant life in China

Pearl Buck

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

CHEMISTRY 1935

Discovered artificial radioactivity

Irène Joliot-Curie

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 1931

Social worker active in the peace movement

Jane Addams

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

LITERATURE 1928

Made vivid the life of medieval women

Sigrid Undset

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

LITERATURE 1926

Portrayed the harsh life in Sardinia in her poetry

Grazia Deledda

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

LITERATURE 1909

Storyteller and painter of peasant life

Selma Lagerlöf

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

PEACE 1905

Leader in the international peace movement

Bertha von Suttner

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

CHEMISTRY 1911 PHYSICS 1903

Discovered the elements radium and polonium
Pioneering research on radiation

Marie Curie

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.