Noblest of the Nobels

The Noble Nobel Prize

Nobel Prizes are one of the most prestigious awards by Norwegian and Swedish institutions awarded across the globe each year. These are named after Alfred Nobel famous for his invention of “dynamite”. For becoming individuals or organizations to become  Nobel Prize winners something unique must be done that is significant enough to change the world for the greater good. It is awarded in 6 categories-

  • Literature
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Peace
  • Economics
  • Physiology & medicine

He was the first to experiment with compounds that could stabilize explosive chemicals which made controlled explosives of high intensity possible. These were very helpful in mining and construction industry.

How it all came to be

The advent of the Nobel Prize itself has an interesting story behind it. Since childhood Nobel showed curiosity towards many things. A learned man himself, he wrote poetry and drama. He was also interested in social and peace-related issues and had radical views that were unpopular during his time. Although many of these factors played a role in his decision to of establishing prizes in various fields, one factor is considered dominant. In 1888 fake news of his death was printed in French newspapers. Some of them bore negative titles like “the merchant of death is dead”.He realized that something he had invented for use in mines was also being widely used for military purposes. This may have been one of the triggers for establishing these awards months before his death in 1896 caused by angina pectoris.

In this article, you will get to know some of the most significant Nobel Prize Winners.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for discovering the cause of the “photoelectric effect.”Although he had many contributions towards science like Energy Mass equivalence equation, Theory of Special Relativity and The theory of General Relativity photoelectric effect won him the Nobel. This was significant as it proved the particle nature of light and the existence of photons (packets of light energy). Years later this lead to proving of dual nature of light.

Sir Alexander Fleming

The 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to Sir Alexander Fleming, Ernst Chain and Sir Howard Florey for their discovery of penicillin, a fungus, and its use as an antibiotic. This is considered a chance discovery. Once Fleming discovered observed that in one of his Petri dishes containing bacteria fungus had started growing on one side. The bacterial growth was minimal to none in the fungal area. It was suspected that the fungus must be secreting something that is affecting the bacteria. He isolated the chemical and later named it “penicillin” after the fungus’ genus Penicillium. Ernst Chain and Sir Howard Florey helped in carrying out human trials which made the advent of antibiotics possible.

Watson, Crick & Wilkins

Francis Crick and James Watson won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for their discovery that DNA is shaped like a double helix along with Maurice Wilkins.  He used a technique called X-ray crystallography to map out the shape of the DNA molecule. Which was used as the earliest evidence for their claim. It was a controversial Nobel as they had used X-ray diffraction image of DNA taken by a biophysicist named Rosalind Franklin a year earlier. However, Franklin was never able to present her case before the Nobel committee.

Marie Curie  

Her name is worth mentioning due to several reasons. First, she was the first woman ever to win the noble prize. Second, she was the first person to receive two Nobel prizes. Third, she is one of the two people till date, who have won Nobels in two different fields. Nobel history has never encountered such a great woman ever. She and her husband Pierre, along with Henri Becquerel, won the Physics Prize in 1903 for their discovery of radioactivity. Later she got another one for chemistry in 1911 for discovering the elements radium and polonium and determining their properties.

She was so dedicated to her work that she died of radioactivity which was so intense that the notebooks she wrote are still not safe enough to be viewed without proper equipment.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We all remember him for his famous speech “I have a dream ….” which he delivered at the steps of Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of about  250,000 people. It is regarded as one of the best speeches ever in history. At 35 years of age, he became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize when his work towards economic and civil rights and ending of racial discrimination in the United States via nonviolent means was recognized in 1964. 

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu) on 26 August 1910 in Yugoslavia, Albanian was a Roman Catholic nun of who came to Indian and founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta in the 1950s. She spent the next 45 years looking after poor, sick, orphaned and dying people(which were in significant numbers at that time) while overseeing the spread of Missionaries of Charity’s and its outreach throughout and beyond India.

Amartya Sen

Amartya Kumar Sen is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his Research on fundamental problems in welfare economics, Studies of social choice, welfare measurement, and poverty. Inspired by the infamous famine of Bengal in 1943 his studies include famines, to develop a deeper understanding of the economic factors behind famine and poverty.

These were some of the best Nobles Prize winners ever awarded. Hope they inspire you to do something significant in life.

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