The Nobel Prizes are given every year to those who have benefited mankind the most in one of six fields: peace, literature, medicine, physics, chemistry and economics. For each prize, 8 million Swedish kronas (US $960,000 or 64,000 crowns) is split among the winners.
The winners for 2015 (to be filled in as they are announced):
Medicine & Physiology:
Half goes to Tu Youyou (屠呦呦) and the other half to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura (大村智). Their work helps hundreds of millions of people every year:
- Tu came up with artemisinin to fight malaria. Quinine and other medicines have long been losing their effect. She got the idea for artemisinin from a herbal remedy found in a book over 1,600 years old: Gě Hóng’s “A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies” (340).
- Campbell built on the work of Omura to come up with ivermectin, which treats river blindness and elephantiasis caused by roundworm. Roundworm is now no longer a leading cause of blindness.
Takaaki Kajita (梶田隆章) and Arthur B. McDonald split the Physics prize. Leading two separate teams, one in Japan and one in Canada, they discovered that neutrinos have mass and change flavours, between tau, muon and electron. Neutrinos are the smallest known bits of matter in the universe. They constantly stream out of the Sun and pass right through us, but little is known about them. What Kajita and McDonald discovered goes against the predictions made by the Standard Model of particle physics, upon which our understanding of elementary particles is based.
Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar win for working out how DNA repair takes place in cells at the biochemical level. Knowing this helps us to understand cancer. One of the things that damages DNA is cigarette smoke.
Svetlana Alexievich (Святлана Аляксандраўна Алексіевіч) wins for her “polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time,” the first journalist ever to win. She was born in Ukraine, grew up in Belarus and writes in Russian. She writes oral histories of tragedies like the Chernobyl disaster, the Soviet-Afghan war and the fall of the Soviet Union. Based on hundreds of interviews of those affected, she writes a history not of facts but of the soul.
The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (رباعي الراعي للحوار الوطني) wins for helping to bring peace and democracy to their country. As Tunisia sank into violence in 2013 after two assassinations, the Quartet got Islamist and secular parties to agree to Tunisia’s first free democratic elections, held in 2014. They saved Tunisia from civil war. Libya, Syria and Yemen have not been so fortunate.
Angus Deaton wins for his “analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare”. He found that poverty, inequality and health are best understood not by average income but by looking at individual spending decisions. Sometimes more money can make things worse – like giving aid to Africa.
Winners listed by country of birth:
- Britain: Deaton
- Canada: McDonald
- China: Tu
- Ireland: Campbell
- Japan: Omura, Kajita
- Sweden: Lindahl
- Tunisia: Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet
- Turkey: Sancar
- Ukraine: Alexievich
- US: Modrich
– Abagond, 2015.
- Twitter: @NobelPrize
- Nobel Prize winners for 2008
- Nobel Prize winners for 2007
- Posts on Nobel Prize winners:
- Einstein – Physics, 1921
- Jane Addams – Peace, 1931
- Winston Churchill – Literature, 1953
- Martin Luther King, Jr – Peace, 1964
- Solzhenitsyn – Literature, 1970
- Kissinger – Peace, 1973
- Aung San Suu Kyi – Peace, 1991
- Toni Morrison – Literature, 1993
- Nelson Mandela – Peace, 1993
- United Nations – Peace, 2001
- Barack Obama – Peace, 2009
- at least 100 million
- US dollar