Meet 2021’s Nobel Awardees

Across the fields of physics, chemistry, economic science, literature, physiology or medicine, and peace work, six Nobel Prizes are awarded annually to notable individuals or organisations for exceptional work and contribution in their specific area. As part of Alfred Nobel’s last will, the winners receive a diploma and a medal with prize money amounting to a total of $1.1 million each.

Prize in Physics

The Nobel Prize in Physics was jointly awarded to three scientists whose work “laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how the humanity influences it.”. More specifically, in understanding how the Earth’s climate is changing and how human behaviour plays a part in those changes. The winners were Syukuro Manabe of Princeton University, Klaus Hasselmann of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, and Giorgio Parisi of the Sapienza University of Rome.

Prize in Chemistry

For their creation of a new tool to build molecules, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan of Germany and Scotland. Their work has been a tremendous breakthrough in pharmaceutical research and explored methodologies that reduce the impact of chemistry on the environment.

Prize in Literature

This year, Mr Abdulrazak Gurnah became the first African to win the award in almost twenty years for “his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” Born in Zanzibar, Tanzania but now living in the UK, Mr Gurnah’s novels often deal with the theme of immigration in Britain.

Prize in Economic Sciences

Scientists are often thought only to be the people who conduct field studies and experiments, usually leaving out the likes of economists. Unlike natural scientists, though, social scientists can rarely do controlled experiments - all they can do is observe. This year’s winners have changed that and brought statistics derived and observational data analysis to the mainstream. The 2021 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to David Card “for his empirical contributions to labour economics” and the other half jointly to Joshua D. Angrist and Guido W. Imbens “for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships”.

Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian “for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch.” Their research has greatly expanded the scientific community’s understanding of how our nervous systems respond and interact with different stimuli such as heat, cold and touch. Dr Julius is a professor at the University of California, while Dr Patapoutian is a molecular biologist and neuroscientist at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California.

Peace Prize

And finally, the Nobel Peace Prize was jointly awarded to journalists Peace Prize. Muratov for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression in their respective countries of The Philippines and Russia, exposing abuse of power and authoritarianism in increasingly censorship prone countries.

The Nobel Prizes have been a long-standing tradition and are often a symbol of progress in various fields of humankind. While the competition has always been rigorous, these prizes show what is possible when people bring the best minds together to unearth life’s greatest mysteries.

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