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The Nobel Prizes in Sciences

Alfred Bernhard Nobels contribution to sciences in the world is great, and at the same time he is a great scientist. He spent most of his lifetime in chemistry research and physics research as well. He was also very interested in physiology or medicine and once wished to squeeze more time on it. Therefore, in his will, he wished to establish the Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace, which are the five categories that have the closest relevance to the existence and development of human beings.

Nobel Prize in Physics - UK (2001) Maximum Card

Nobel Prize in Chemistry - UK (2001) Maximum Card

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine - UK (2001) Maximum Card


Competence to submit proposals for the award of the Nobel Prizes in sciences (hereinafter referring to the Nobel Physics Prize, the Nobel Chemistry Prize, the Nobel Physiology or Medicine Prize) shall be enjoyed by: " 1) Swedish and foreign members of the Academy of Sciences; 2) Members of the Nobel committees for Physics and Chemistry; 3) Scientists who have been awarded the Prize by the Academy of Sciences; 4) Permanent and assistant professors in the sciences of Physics and Chemistry at the universities and institutes of technology of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, and the Karolinska Institute; 5) Holders of corresponding chairs in at least six universities or university college ed by the Academy of Sciences with a view to ensuring the appropriate distribution of the commission over the different ries and their seats of learning; and 6) Other scientists from whom the Academy may see fit to invite proposals...". The people from the first 4 sources have permanent nominating right while those from the last 2 sources have only one-year-invited temporary nominating right. According to the Statutes of the Nobel Prize, all the nominees and the final laureates must be alive as the involved prize winning money is not supposed to be given to the deceased candidates. Usually, the Nobel Prizes in sciences shall only be awarded to very limited number of the owners of an invention or an achievement for the concen of the otherwise a too low amount of prize money.

From 1901 to 2014, there have been totally 572 individual persons awarded the Nobel Prizes in sciences, among which 198 awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics (81 alive), 168 in Chemistry (63 alive), 207 in Physiology or Medicine (64 alive).

In the final voting, if two candidates ballot are very close, the one who fails will very likely to win the same prize in the next year, unless there is someone else who has made much more fabulous achievement in the same field during this period of time. In addition, if a nominated candidate is just one of the chief members of the prize-awarding bodies, he or she would have had to quit his or her work at the prize-awarding bodies, otherwise his or her qualification of being the Prize nominated candidate would be cancelled. For example, Arne Wilhelm Kaurin Tiselius had seceded from the Nobel Committee for Chemistry for being nominated two times as the Prize candidates before he finally was awarded the Prize in Chemistry in 1948.

Among all the Prize laureates there are 8 oversea Chinese scientists: Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao Lee, the Nobel Physics Prize co-laureates in 1957, Samuel Chao Chung Ting, the Nobel Physics Prize laureate in 1976, Yuan T. Lee, the Nobel Chemistry Prize laureate in 1986, Steven Chu, the Nobel Physics Prize laureate in 1997, Daniel Tsui, the Nobel Physics Prize laureate in 1998, Roger Y. Tsien, the Nobel Chemistry Prize Laureate in 2008, and Charles K. Kao, the Nobel Physics Prize laureate in 2009.

In the early years of the Prize awarding, many of the famous scientists of the 80s and 90s in the nineteenth century who have made extraordinary contributions to the development of sciences were still alive, such like Wilhelm Conrad R?tgen (Germany, 1901 Physics), Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (the Netherlands, 1902, Physics), Pieter Zeeman (the Netherlands, 1902 Physics), Antoine Henri Becquerel (France, 1903 Physics), Pierre Curie and Marie Curie (France, 1903 Physics), Joseph John Thomson (Great Britain, 1906 Physics), Albert Abraham Michelson (USA, 1907 Physics), Jacobus Henricus vant Hoff (the Netherlands, 1901 Chemistry), Hermann Emil Fischer (Germany, 1902  Chemistry), Svante August Arrhe-nius (Sweden, 1903  Che-mistry), Sir William Ramsay    (Great  Britain, 1904 Che-mistry), Emil Adolf von Behring (Ger-many, 1901 Physiology or Medicine), Ivan Petrovich Pavilov (Russia, 1904 Physiology or Medicine), Robert Koch (Germany, 1905 Physiology or Medicine). They were all awarded the Nobel Prizes in sciences.


From the Nobel Foundation Directory it can be seen clearly that almost all the extraordinary scientific discoveries in the field of physics, chemistry and physiology or medicine in the 20th century are almost acknowledged by the Nobel Prizes, like the discoveries of X-ray and radioactivity, quantum mechanics, atomic structure, elementary particle, nuclear atom fission, biogenetic mutation, DNA structure model, gene engineering, laser, super-conductive material and superconductivity, integrated circuit, test-tube baby, etc. Therefore, the Nobel Prizes can be the developmental history of the human beings sciences in 20th century in epitome.

In addition, one of the differences between the Nobel Prizes and other prizes is that the teacher-and-student relationship is comparatively more protruding in the former; and the laureates are more centered on certain numbers or types of laboratory at certain universities. Joseph John Thomson (Great Britain), the Nobel Physics Prize laureate in 1906, once had 8 students who later became the Nobel Prize laureates among which his son, George Paget Thomson was included; 12 students of Ernest Rutherford (Great Britain), the 1908 Nobel Chemistry Prize laureate, became the Nobel Prize laureates successively later; Niels Nenrik David Bohr (Denmark), the 1922 Nobel Physics Prize laureate, was once the supervisor of 8 Nobel Prize laureate; and 6 Nobel Prize laureate were once supervised by Enrico Fermi (Italy), the 1938 Nobel Physics Prize laureate. Furthermore, at the end of 1970s, 25 Nobel Prize laureates came from and the Cavendish laboratory founded in 1871 in Great Britain as well as 5 Nobel Prize laureates had very close relationship with it; 9 Nobel Prize laureates once worked and at Chicago University where there have been so many Nobel Economics Prize laureates, all these research bodies are the Nobel Prizes Laureate sources worthy of the name. Meanwhile, several laureates came from Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen of Denmark and Gottingen University of Germany. These 2 research bodies are also cradles of Nobel Prize Laureates.

Nobel Prize in Physics - UK (2001) First-Day Cover

Nobel Prize in Chemistry - UK (2001) First-Day Cover

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine - UK (2001) First-Day Cover

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