Nobel Prize Winners 2016

Image: Nobel Foundation


By Nischal Shrestha

The greatest achievements in the world are rewarded Nobel Prize every year. Nobel Prize started in the year of 1901 AD, is named after the inventor Alfred Nobel. According to the will of the Alfred Nobel, Nobel Prize is provided to the person who has done the greatest work for the benefit of mankind. Up to now, Nobel Prize is provided 579 times to 911 people and organizations. The Nobel Prize is given in the field of physics, chemistry, medicine, peace, economics and literature. In the year 2016, the prize was announced in the month of October. The winner receives the medal, a diploma and 1.2 million US dollars (2012 data). The award is not awarded posthumously. The prize is awarded in Stockholm, Sweden with the exception of Peace Prize awarded in Oslo, Norway. In this piece of writing, short description of the areas for which Nobel Prize 2016 were awarded will be discussed.


Nobel Prize Award Ceremony Image: Nobel Foundation
The Nobel Prize in Physics was provided in the field of condensed matter physics to David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz “for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter (Topology is the branch of mathematics related to the properties preserved during deformation). The discovery is thought to play a significant role for the development of new and advanced materials having the wide range of applications in the future world. Quantum computers, superconductors and new generations of electronics are some, among many vital uses that the discovery can bring. “Thanks to their pioneering work, the hunt is now on for new and exotic phases of matter. Many people are hopeful of future applications in both materials science and electronics,” a statement by the Nobel Foundation reads.


Image- physics world

The theoretical discovery with complex mathematics has opened the possibility of the utmost bizarre world where we can find exotic states of matter which can be really strange. The superconducting behavior of the material where there is no resistance at all and the superfluidity in which there is possibly no viscosity, the liquid can flow without any friction.


David J. Thouless receives award from the king of Sweden. Image: Nobel Foundation

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was given to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for their development of molecular machines. Molecular machines are the Nano-machines which are thousands times smaller than the single strand of a human hair. The world’s smallest smart machines can operate without the human help. These machines can acclimatize with the environment. For an instance in a human body, they would contract during the heat and expand to the target area of the body to deliver the medicines. Richard Feynman, renowned physicist and one of the pioneer of Nanotechnology predicted that in future the machines in the scale of Nano can be made which will many applications in the daily use. ‘There’s plenty of room at the bottom’ is a very famous quote by the scientist. Experts predict the discovery will play a vital role to develop a self-healing system in the diverse areas of the modern world.


The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for the discoveries related to the mechanisms for autophagy. Autophagy is the process which denotes the degrading and recycling of cellular components. He
experimental the yeast cells and demonstrated the similar process in the human cells which have led to discovery of mechanisms of autophagy. Scientists believe that this understanding can prove crucial for the fight against cancer, brain diseases and neurological diseases. In a press conference, the cell biologist Ohsumi said, “As a boy, the Nobel Prize was a dream, but after starting my research, it was out of my picture.” He told that the joy of finding something is his inspiration.


Yoshinori Ohsumi Image daily mail

The experiment that he carried out deeply studied the genes in the yeast cells, resembling behavior of recycling process in the human cells. “Thanks to Ohsumi and others following his footsteps, we now know that autophagy controls important physiological functions where cellular components need to be degraded and recycled.” the Nobel Foundation statement reads.

The Nobel Prize in Economics was given to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom for their contributions to contract theory. Modern economies are held together by innumerable contracts. “The new theoretical tools created by Hart and Holmstrom are valuable to the understanding for real-life contracts and institutions, as well as potential pitfalls in contract design.” states the Nobel Foundation.

The Nobel Prize in Peace was provided to the president of Colombia for the major role to maintain peace in the country by bring the tussling two parties to the dialogue and finding the way to settlement and peace. It was provided to President Juan Manuel Santos for “his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50 year long civil war to an end.”

The Nobel Prize for literature was given to the Bob Dylan. The singer-songwriter has been awarded the prize for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” For his overwhelming lyrical ability, he is globally respected. His career has spanned more than five decades and has wide range of influence.

Highest number of Nobel Laureates by country of birth:
USA- 259

49 times Nobel Prize was not given.
Average age of the Nobel laureates for all categories is 59
Youngest is Malala Yousafzai awarded Peace Prize at the age of 17 years, Oldest is Leonid Hurwicz awarded Nobel Prize in economics at 90.
49 times women have won the prize.

Sources:, Wikipedia, Guardian, Live Science

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