Top 10 Famous Nobel Prize Winners

Hasn’t it been so much a forgotten fact what out Nobel Prize winners have actually done for mankind? Don’t you think their efforts deserve more appreciation than mere mention as the prize winner?

Nobel prize winners are without any doubt a gift to mankind. They are perhaps some finest specimens of humanity that live or have lived among us. So have you forgotten the names of few of the most notable noble prize winners? Yes, even those without whose discoveries and achievements our present may have been different. Here are ten of the most famous Noble Prize winners and their accomplishments.


10. Werner Heisenberg

Award Category: Physics

I am pretty sure that even those digging their heads in their science texts would have forgotten Heisenberg who received the Nobel prize for Physics in 1932. What were his achievements? Well, students like myself may have way despised his discovery of the underlying principles of quantum mechanics (Yes, I have a reason. I scored the least in my Physics board exam). Quantum Mechanics is the basis of the rules that govern the behaviour of subatomic particles.

You think the discovery was not huge enough? Well, it changed the understanding we had of reality.

9. Watson, Crick and Wilkins

Award Category: Medicine

Another breakthrough discovery in science and another Nobel Prize, just this time in Medicine or Physiology. Francis Crick and James Watson were awarded for discovering that DNA is shaped like a double helix in 1962. Wilkins shared the prize since he first collected evidences through the technique of X-ray crystallography to map the shape of the DNA molecule.

The prize was however controversial since Rosalind Franklin, a biophysicist, was not awarded whereas it was based on an X ray diffraction image taken by her that the research was based, and the image was seen without her knowledge. She, in the draft of her paper had informed of the hellical form way before Watson or Crick did. Infact, they were awarded four years after she died.

8. Jean Paul Sartre

Award Category: Literature

Alright, so this one is not about someone who accepted the Nobel prize (I didn’t say he was not awarded though). Jean Paul Sartre was a notable figure of French Philosophy in the 20th century. Studies of Marxism and existentialism have had various notable contributions by him. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964 which he refused to accept since he was not in favour of being one sided in the East vs. West cultural struggle and the award was clearly from a Western Cultural institution.

Sartre along with Albert Camus popularized the existentialist movement which focused largely on experiences of life than on moral or universal teachings and obligations. His treatise “Being and Nothingness” is sure a notable contribution to the literature of existentialism.

7. Marie Curie and Co.

Award Category: Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911

The lady was the first person to have won two Nobel prizes, each in different fields. Marie Curie, her husband – Pierre and Henri Becquerel were awarded the prize in Physics in 1903 for discovering radioactivity. Again in 1911, she won the prize in chemistry as she discovered Radium and Polonium as well as their properties.

Again, Marie and Pierre’s daughter, Irene Joliot Curie won the Chemistry Prize in 1935 and her second daughter won the Nobel Peace prize in 1965. A Noble Family it was!

6. The Red Cross

Award Category: Peace Prize

This committee of the Red Cross has been awarded most number of Nobel Prizes given to a single entity. It was awarded Peace prizes in 1917, 1944 and 1963 for its work in the first and second world wars and on the occasion of its’ 100th anniversary.

The Red cross society visited and monitored the POW camps of warring parties and took it upon them to provide relief assistance and well as to administer the exchange of messages informing of prisoners and missing people during the World Wars.

5. Hermann Muller

Award Category: Medicine

This American Biologist was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1946. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering that Radiation causes Mutations in the human body. Muller investigated the effects of X ray on organisms through the 1920’s and in 1926 he clearly concluded that there was a link between radiation exposure and lethal mutations. He then worked tirelessly to prove the grave dangers which radiation exposure had on organisms only to be later recognized by the Nobel Committee.

4. Martin Luther King Junior

Award Category: Peace Prize

Martin Luther King Junior at the age of 35 was the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was recognized for his unending work to end racial discrimination in the United States of America through nonviolent methods. He was awarded the Peace Prize in 1964. Among his influential movements, his speech “I Have a Dream” addressed to a crowd of 200,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial was an unforgettable memory and made him the rightful leader of the Civil Rights Movement.

3. Sir Alexander Fleming and Co.

Award Category: Medicine

Sir Alexander Fleming along with Ernst Chain and Sir Howard Rorey was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945. He was awarded in Physiology or Medicine for his breakthrough discovery of Penicillin, the World’s first antibiotic. It may have happened accidently (as stories suggest) though that he ate a moldly bread which cured him of the infectious disease causing his to research on this fungus. On the contrary, the accident happened while he was away on a vacation in August. In September, when he returned to his laboratory, he discovered that a stack of Petri Dishes containing Bacteria had developed Fungus causing the Bacteria to die. The rest is history, but this accident sure was a revolutionary discovery in the history of Medicine.

2. Albert Einstein

Award Category: Physics

Now perhaps to mention a name you have all heard of, the famous scientist Albert Einstein. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 and thereby discovered the cause of Photoelectric effect. This is the phenomenon in which Atoms, on being bombarded with light, emit electrons. Einstein argued, in 1905, that light was divided into discrete packets or photons. He argues that when the photons struck atoms, the electrons in those atoms absorb them and the extra energy causes them to wrestle free of the atoms binding them. This theory was only one of his many revolutionary discoveries. And well, I guess you know already, but this is the man that gave you the equation E=mc^2.

1. Mother Teresa

Award Category: Peace Prize

Another revolutionary figure whose tireless efforts effected the lives of many. The Roman Catholic nun, Mother Teresa was of Albanian ethnicity but Indian nationality. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta in 1950. She spent 45 years from then serving the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. In 1997, when she died, there were already 610 missions in 123 countries. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for being a soul that served so many other souls. After her death, she was beautified by Pope John Paul II and was made a saint. Laurels to the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

All their efforts and discoveries are today so infused in our lifestyles that we hardly ever give a thought to how a World without them would be. Have you ever wondered of  a world without the atoms, particles and penicillin. Better still, a world without peace and those to serve humanity. I believe such a World would be savage. Have not these Nobel Prize Winners truly done a Nobel deed indeed?

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