The Nobel Prize was first established in 1895, in Sweden, as a way to commend outstanding citizens for their efforts to advance topics in peace, literature, chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, and economic sciences.
Each year, a panel of esteemed judges will review applicant submissions and choose one or more recipients, dubbed laureates, for their respective prizes.
Since it’s inception, this award is often cited as the most prestigious accolade a person can receive in their lifetime. This year, the decisions on who won each prize came out during the first and second weeks of October.
The award for Physiology or Medicine was given to Yoshinori Ohsumi, a native of Japan, whose work on autophagy (recycling and degrading cellular components) led to the breakthrough of understanding how cells create a pattern of recycling content. Bob Dylan took the prize for Literature; the judges appreciated the poetic expression found in all of his music.
Bengt Holmström from MIT, and Oliver Hart from Harvard University, both won the prize in Economics for their work in analyzing long and short contracts – the two created theoretical tools that can help determine where a contract may fall short, or how to avoid any loops in a contract. Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, was awarded the Peace Prize for his efforts to help end the country’s fifty-year civil war.
Bernard L. Feringa from the University of Groningen, Sir. J. Fraser Stoddart from Northwestern University, and Jean-Pierre Sauvage from the University of Strasbourg, all worked together to develop “the world’s smallest machines, “ which function to produce molecules, leading to their securing the Chemistry prize.
Finally, this year’s Physics award was given to David J. Thouless from the University of Washington, F. Duncan M. Haldane from Princeton University, and J. Michael Kosterlitz, who worked separately to determine mathematical methods to monitor and explain the functions of unusual phases, such as superconductors.
In today’s day and age, it is easy to get distracted by tabloids exclaiming: “who wore it best,” and “breaking news!” Lost in the void that is pop culture, we often forget to look at public figures that are not typically referred to as celebrities.
These people, who make strides in medicine, technology, the economy, and political relationships are sometimes so noteworthy that the only way to commend their achievements is to appoint them as Nobel laureates.
This year’s recipients are no exception to the previous statement and deserve all the honors and applause coming their way.
For more information on this year’s recipients, and previous winners, check out the Nobel Prize’s website: https://www.nobelprize.org