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Monthly, October 2019
Medicine Laureate William G. Kaelin Jr in his home in Boston shortly after receiving the call from Sweden. Photo: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University
2019 Nobel Prizes
– For the greatest benefit to humankind
In his will, Alfred Nobel left much of his wealth to establish the Nobel Prizes, awarded to those who had “conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.” Nobelprize.org welcomes this year's 15 new Nobel Laureates: three in physics, three in chemistry, three in physiology or medicine, two in literature (for both 2018 and 2019) one in peace and three new Laureates in Economic Sciences. All of them are introduced at nobelprize.org with presentations, videos, photos and interviews

2019 Physics Prize
James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz. Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media
Awarded with one half to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology” and the other half jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”

“Eager to know more? Absolutely”. James Peebles was interviewed following the announcement of the physics prize and reflected on cosmologists’ connection with explorers and the constant interplay between observation and theory.

Read or listen to the interview with James Peebles

2019 Medicine Prize
© The Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine. Ill. Mattias Karlén
Awarded jointly to William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.”

Professor Randall Johnson, member of the Nobel Committee, explains the discovery that revealed the mechanism for one of life’s most essential adaptive processes. “We now understand this fundamental biological switch that really impacts our lives as living creatures here on Earth breathing oxygen.”

See the video

2019 Chemistry Prize
© Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Awarded to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino “for their contributions to the development of the lithium-ion battery.”

Researchers around the world have searched through the periodic table on the hunt for even better batteries, but no one has yet succeeded in inventing something that beats the lithium-ion battery’s high capacity and voltage. Learn the highly charged story of the world’s most powerful battery.

Read the popular science background for the chemistry prize

2018 Literature Prize
Olga Tokarczuk. Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media
Awarded to the Polish author Olga Tokarczuk “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.”

In a car, by the road, amidst a bombardment of calls and texts, Olga Tokarczuk was interviewed and spoke of the importance of the award of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature as a symbol of hope for those worried about the “crisis in democracy” she sees facing central Europe.

Read or listen to the interview

2019 Literature Prize
Peter Handke. Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media
Awarded to the Austrian author Peter Handke “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience”.
Peter Handke has produced a great number of works in different genres, and has established himself as one of the most influential writers in Europe after the Second World War.

Read more in the bio-bibliography

2019 Peace Prize
Abiy Ahmed Ali. Ill. Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media
Awarded to Abiy Ahmed Ali “for his important work to promote reconciliation, solidarity and social justice.”
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali was awarded the 100th Nobel Peace Prize. Hear Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, speak about the choice of this year's prize. “We identify this as the most significant contribution to peace in the last year.”

See the video

2019 Prize in Economic Sciences
© Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

Over 700 million people still subsist on extremely low incomes. This year’s Economic Sciences Laureates have shown how the problem of global poverty can be tackled by breaking it down into a number of smaller – but more precise – questions at individual or group levels. Here Esther Duflo reflects on their work: “There is plenty of reasons to be hopeful.”
Read or listen to the interview

Monthly quiz

Women economists
The Prize in Economic Sciences was established in 1969 and is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden, according to the same principles as for the Nobel Prizes. Do you know how many women have been awarded this prize? Make a guess and click to submit your answer.




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