2014 Nobel Prizes Awarded

This Year’s Contributions to Mankind

by Marie Fester (Staff Writer)


The Nobel prizes have been awarded since 1901 in Alfred Nobel’s (1833-1896) name. A brilliant inventor and businessman, he held 355 patents and 87 companies at the time of his death.

The prizes are awarded to individuals who have done their best to benefit mankind in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. In 1969, “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” was added to the list. The recipients receive a diploma, a medal, and 10 million Swedish crowns (about 1.5
million CAD).

The Laureates are announced every year at the beginning of October. The ceremonies are held in December in Stockholm, Sweden, except for the ceremony for the peace prize which is held in Oslo, Norway. 355 prizes have been awarded to 889 individuals since 1901. The ceremony will be held on December 10th this year.

This year’s winners were as incredible as any year. The prize in physics went to Isamu Akasaki (Meijo University and Nagoya University), Hiroshi Amano (Nagoya University) and Shuji Nakamura (University of California, Santa Barbara) for their work on light emitting diodes that has enabled bright and energy saving light sources.

The prize in Chemistry went to Eric Betzig (Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute), Stefan W. Hell (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and German Cancer Research Center), and William E. Moerner (Stanford University) “for the development of superresolved fluorescence microscopy”.

The prize for physiology or medicine was split between John O’Keefe (University College, London), May-Britt Moser (Centre or Neural Computation) and Edvard I. Moser (Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience) for their discovery of positioning cells in the brain.

The prize in literature went to Patrick Modiano, a French language author who writes in the contemporary genre. He has published 56 pieces (Éditions Gallimard) and was awarded “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the lifeworld of the occupation”.

The peace prize was awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”. Malala is a 17-year-old advocate for women’s and girls’ right to education. Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian child rights activist and one of the global leaders in the combat against child labour.

The Nobel prize in Economics was awarded to Jean Tirole, Scientific Director of IDEI and Member of the Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), “for his analysis of market power and regulation”.

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