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Nobel Prize in Chemistry


The Nobel Prize in Chemistry (Swedish: Nobelpriset i kemi) is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in physics, chemistry, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine since 1901. This award is administered by the Nobel Foundation and widely regarded as the most prestigious award that a scientist in the various fields of chemistry can receive. The first Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded in 1901 to Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, of the Netherlands, "for his discovery of the laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure in solutions." The award is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death. In 2007 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Gerhard Ertl (of Germany) "for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces"; he was awarded the prize amount of 10,000,000 SEK (slightly more than €1 million, or US$1.4 million).


Award ceremony

Main article: Nobel Prize

The committee and institution serving as the selection board for the prize typically announce the names of the laureates in October. The prize is then awarded at formal ceremonies held annually on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death. "The highlight of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm is when each Nobel Laureate steps forward to receive the prize from the hands of His Majesty the King of Sweden. ... Under the eyes of a watching world, the Nobel Laureate receives three things: a diploma, a medal and a document confirming the prize amount" ("What the Nobel Laureates Receive"). Later the Nobel Banquet is held in Stockholm City Hall.

A maximum of three laureates and two different works may be selected. The award can be given to a maximum of three recipients per year. It consists of a gold medal, a diploma, and a cash grant. The grant is currently approximately 10 million SEK, slightly more than €1 million (US$1.4 million).

Nomination and selection

Main article: Nobel Prize

Compared with some other prizes, the Nobel Prize nomination and selection process is long and rigorous, a key reason why it has become the most important prize in chemistry.

The Nobel Laureates in chemistry are selected by a committee that consists of five members elected by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In its first stage, several thousand people are asked to nominate candidates. These names are scrutinized and discussed by experts until only the winners remain. This slow and thorough process, insisted upon by Alfred Nobel, is arguably what gives the prize its importance.

Forms, which amount to a personal and exclusive invitation, are sent to about three thousand selected individuals to invite them to submit nominations. The names of the nominees are never publicly announced, and neither are they told that they have been considered for the Prize. Nomination records are sealed for fifty years. In practice some nominees do become known. It is also common for publicists to make such a claim, founded or not.

The nominations are screened by committee, and a list is produced of approximately two hundred preliminary candidates. This list is forwarded to selected experts in the field. They remove all but approximately fifteen names. The committee submits a report with recommendations to the appropriate institution.

While posthumous nominations are not permitted, awards can occur if the individual died in the months between the nomination and the decision of the prize committee.

The award in chemistry require that the significance of achievements being recognized is "tested by time." In practice it means that the lag between the discovery and the award is typically on the order of 20 years and can be much longer. As a downside of this approach, not all scientists live long enough for their work to be recognized. Some important scientific discoveries are never considered for a Prize, as the discoverers may have died by the time the impact of their work is realized.

List of Laureates

The following chart is assembled from the official list on the website of the Nobel Foundation ("All Nobel Laureates in Chemistry").

Year Name Nationality Citation
1901 Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff Netherlands "for his discovery of the laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure in solutions"
1902 Hermann Emil Fischer Germany "for his work on sugar and purine syntheses"
1903 Svante August Arrhenius Sweden "for his electrolytic theory of dissociation"
1904 Sir William Ramsay United Kingdom "for his discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air"
1905 Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer Germany "for his work on organic dyes and hydroaromatic compounds"
1906 Henri Moissan France "for his investigation and isolation of the element fluorine, and for the electric furnace named after him"
1907 Eduard Buchner Germany "for his biochemical research and his discovery of cell-free fermentation"
1908 Ernest Rutherford New Zealand
United Kingdom
"for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances"
1909 Wilhelm Ostwald Germany "his work on catalysis and for his investigations into chemical equilibria and rates of reaction"
1910 Otto Wallach Germany "for his work in the field of alicyclic compounds"
1911 Maria Skłodowska-Curie Poland
"for her discovery of radium and polonium "
1912 Victor Grignard France "for his the discovery of the Grignard reagent"
Paul Sabatier France "for his method of hydrogenating organic compounds"
1913 Alfred Werner Switzerland "for his work on the linkage of atoms in molecules"
1914 Theodore William Richards United States "for his determinations of the atomic weight of a large number of elements"
1915 Richard Martin Willstätter Germany "for his research on plant pigments"
1916 no award
1917 no award
1918 Fritz Haber Germany "for his synthesis of ammonia"
1919 no award
1920 Walther Hermann Nernst Germany "for his work in thermochemistry"
1921 Frederick Soddy United Kingdom "for his work on the chemistry of radioactive substances and investigations into isotopes"
1922 Francis William Aston United Kingdom "for his discovery of isotopes in a large number of non-radioactive elements, and for his whole-number rule"
1923 Fritz Pregl Austria "for his invention of the method of micro-analysis of organic substances"
1925 Richard Adolf Zsigmondy Germany "for his demonstration of the heterogeneous nature of colloid solutions and the methods used"
1926 Theodor Svedberg Sweden "for his work on disperse systems"
1927 Heinrich Otto Wieland Germany "for his investigations of the bile acids and related substances"
1928 Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus Germany "for his research into sterols and their connection with vitamins"
1929 Arthur Harden
Hans Karl August Simon von Euler-Chelpin
United Kingdom
"for their investigations on the fermentation of sugar and fermentative enzymes"
1930 Hans Fischer Germany "for his research into haemin and chlorophyll"
1931 Carl Bosch
Friedrich Bergius
"for their contributions to chemical high pressure methods"
1932 Irving Langmuir United States "for his work in surface chemistry"
1934 Harold Clayton Urey United States "for his discovery of heavy hydrogen"
1935 Frédéric Joliot
Irene Joliot-Curie
"for their synthesis of new radioactive elements"
1936 Petrus (Peter) Josephus Wilhelmus Debye Netherlands "for his work on molecular structure through investigations on dipole moments and the diffraction of X-rays and electrons in gases"
1937 Walter Norman Haworth United Kingdom "for his work on carbohydrates and vitamin C"
Paul Karrer Switzerland "for his work on carotenoids, flavins and vitamins A and B2"
1938 Richard Kuhn Germany "for his work on carotenoids and vitamins"
1939 Adolf Friedrich Johann Butenandt Germany "for his work on sex hormones"
Leopold Ružička Switzerland "for his work on polymethylenes and higher terpenes"
1940 no award
1941 no award
1942 no award
1943 George de Hevesy Hungary "for his work on the use of isotopes as tracers to study chemical processes"
1944 Otto Hahn Germany "for his discovery of the fission of heavy nuclei"
1945 Artturi Ilmari Virtanen Finland "for his research and inventions in agricultural and nutrition chemistry, especially for his fodder preservation method"
1946 James Batcheller Sumner United States "for his discovery that enzymes can be crystallized"
John Howard Northrop
Wendell Meredith Stanley
United States
United States
"for their preparation of enzymes and virus proteins in a pure form"
1947 Sir Robert Robinson United Kingdom "for his investigations on plant products, especially the alkaloids"
1948 Arne Wilhelm Kaurin Tiselius Sweden "for his research on electrophoresis and adsorption analysis"
1949 William Francis Giauque United States "for his contributions in the field of chemical thermodynamics"
1950 Otto Paul Hermann Diels
Kurt Alder
West Germany
West Germany
"for their discovery and development of the diene synthesis. Diels-Alder reaction."
1951 Edwin Mattison McMillan
Glenn Theodore Seaborg
United States
United States
"for their discoveries in the chemistry of transuranium elements"
1952 Archer John Porter Martin
Richard Laurence Millington Synge
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
"for their invention of partition chromatography"
1953 Hermann Staudinger West Germany "for his discoveries in the field of macromolecular chemistry"
1954 Linus Carl Pauling United States "for his research into the nature of the chemical bond"
1955 Vincent du Vigneaud United States "for his work on sulphur compounds, especially the first synthesis of a polypeptide hormone"
1956 Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood
Nikolay Nikolaevich Semenov (Никола́й Никола́евич Семёнов)
United Kingdom
Soviet Union
"for their research into the mechanism of chemical reactions"
1957 Sir Alexander Todd United Kingdom "for his work on nucleotides and nucleotide co-enzymes"
1958 Frederick Sanger United Kingdom "for his work on the structure of proteins, especially insulin"
1959 Jaroslav Heyrovský Czechoslovakia "for his discovery and development of the polarographic methods of analysis"
1960 Willard Frank Libby United States "for his method to use carbon-14 for age determination"
1961 Melvin Calvin United States "for his research on carbon dioxide assimilation in plants"
1962 Max Ferdinand Perutz
John Cowdery Kendrew
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
"for their studies of the structures of globular proteins"
1963 Karl Ziegler
Giulio Natta
West Germany
"for their discoveries relating to high polymers"
1964 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin United Kingdom "for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances"
1965 Robert Burns Woodward United States "for his achievements in organic synthesis"
1966 Robert Sanderson Mulliken United States "for his work concerning chemical bonds and the electronic structure of molecules"
1967 Manfred Eigen West Germany "for their studies of extremely fast chemical reactions, effected by disturbing the equilibrium by means of very short pulses of energy"
Ronald George Wreyford Norrish
George Porter
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
1968 Lars Onsager Norway
United States
"for the discovery of the reciprocal relations bearing his name"
1969 Derek Harold Richard Barton
Odd Hassel
United Kingdom
"for their contributions to the development of the concept of conformation"
1970 Luis F. Leloir Argentina "for his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates"
1971 Gerhard Herzberg Canada "for his contributions to electronic structure and the geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals"
1972 Christian B. Anfinsen United States "for his work on ribonuclease, especially concerning the connection between the amino acid sequence and the biologically active conformation"
Stanford Moore
William H. Stein
United States
United States
"for their contribution to the understanding of the connection between chemical structure and catalytic activity of the active centre of the ribonuclease molecule"
1973 Ernst Otto Fischer
Geoffrey Wilkinson
West Germany
United Kingdom
"for their pioneering work, performed independently, on the chemistry of the organometallic, so called sandwich compounds"
1974 Paul J. Flory United States "for his fundamental work, both theoretical and experimental, in the physical chemistry of macromolecules"
1975 John Warcup Cornforth Australia
United Kingdom
"for his work on the stereochemistry of enzyme-catalyzed reactions"
Vladimir Prelog Switzerland "for his research into the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions"
1976 William Nunn Lipscomb, Jr. United States "for his studies on the structure of boranes illuminating problems of chemical bonding"
1977 Ilya Prigogine Belgium "for his contributions to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures"
1978 Peter D. Mitchell United Kingdom "for his contribution to the understanding of biological energy transfer through the formulation of the chemiosmotic theory"
1979 Herbert C. Brown
Georg Wittig
United States
West Germany
"for their development of the use of boron- and phosphorus-containing compounds, respectively, into reagents in organic synthesis"
1980 Paul Berg United States "for his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids, with particular regard to recombinant-DNA"
Walter Gilbert
Frederick Sanger
United States
United Kingdom
"for their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids"
1981 Kenichi Fukui (福井謙一)
Roald Hoffmann
United States
"for their theories concerning the course of chemical reactions"
1982 Aaron Klug South Africa
United Kingdom
"for his development of crystallographic electron microscopy and his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes"
1983 Henry Taube United States "for his work on the mechanisms of electron transfer reactions"
1984 Robert Bruce Merrifield United States "for his development of methodology for chemical synthesis on a solid matrix"
1985 Herbert A. Hauptman
Jerome Karle
United States
United States
"for their achievements in developing direct methods for the determination of crystal structures"
1986 Dudley R. Herschbach
Yuan T. Lee (李遠哲)
John C. Polanyi
United States;
United States;
"for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes"
1987 Donald J. Cram
Jean-Marie Lehn
Charles J. Pedersen
United States
United States
"for their development and use of molecules with structure-specific interactions of high selectivity"
1988 Johann Deisenhofer
Robert Huber
Hartmut Michel
West Germany
West Germany
West Germany
"for their determination of the three-dimensional structure of a photosynthetic reaction centre"
1989 Sidney Altman
Thomas R. Cech
United States;
United States
"for their discovery of catalytic properties of RNA"
1990 Elias James Corey United States "for his development of the theory and methodology of organic synthesis"
1991 Richard R. Ernst Switzerland "for his contributions to the development of high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy"
1992 Rudolph A. Marcus United States "for his contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems"
1993 Kary B. Mullis United States "for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method"
Michael Smith Canada "for his fundamental contributions to the establishment of oligonucleotide-based, site-directed mutagenesis and its development for protein studies"
1994 George A. Olah United States "for his contribution to carbocation chemistry"
1995 Paul J. Crutzen
Mario J. Molina
F. Sherwood Rowland
United States
"for their work in atmospheric chemistry, in particular ozone depletion"
1996 Robert Curl
Sir Harold Kroto
Richard Smalley
United States
United Kingdom
United States
"for their discovery of fullerenes"
1997 Paul D. Boyer
John E. Walker
United States
United Kingdom
"for their elucidation of the enzymatic mechanism underlying the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate"
Jens C. Skou Denmark "for his discovery of an ion-transporting enzyme, Na+/K+-ATPase"
1998 Walter Kohn United States "for his development of the density functional theory"
John A. Pople United Kingdom "for his development of computational methods in quantum chemistry"
1999 Ahmed H. Zewail (أحمد زويل) Egypt
United States
"for his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy"
2000 Alan J. Heeger
Alan G MacDiarmid
Hideki Shirakawa (白川英樹)
United States;
New Zealand
United States;
"for their discovery and development of conductive polymers"
2001 William S. Knowles
Ryoji Noyori (野依良治)
United States
"for their work on chirally catalysed hydrogenation reactions"
K. Barry Sharpless United States "for his work on chirally catalysed oxidation reactions" see Sharpless asymmetric dihydroxylation
2002 John B. Fenn
Koichi Tanaka (田中耕一)
United States
"for their development of soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules"
Kurt Wüthrich Switzerland "for his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution"
2003 Peter Agre United States "for the discovery of water channels"
Roderick MacKinnon United States "for structural and mechanistic studies of ion channels"
2004 Aaron Ciechanover
Avram Hershko
Irwin Rose
United States
"for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation"
2005 Robert Grubbs
Richard Schrock
Yves Chauvin
United States
United States
"for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis"
2006 Roger D. Kornberg United States "for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription"
2007 Gerhard Ertl Germany "for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces"

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nobel_Prize_in_Chemistry". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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