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Nobel Prizes Awarded in Chemistry

What is the Nobel Prize?

The Nobel Prize is an international award given yearly since 1901 for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and for peace.

In 1968, the Bank of Sweden instituted the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize.

The Prize Winners are announced in October every year. They receive their awards (a prize amount, a gold medal and a diploma) on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death.

Chronological List of Nobel Prizes Awarded in Chemistry

Year Awarded to Reason(s) for award
2021 Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis

2020 Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for the development of a method for genome editing

2019 John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries

2018 Frances H. Arnold for the directed evolution of enzymes
George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter for the phage display of peptides and antibodies

2017 Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution

2016 Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stossart and Bernard L. Feringa for the design and synthesis of molecular machines

2015 Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for mechanistic studies of DNA repair

2014 Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hall and William E. Mœrner for having bypassed a presumed scientific limitation stipulating that an optical microscope can never yield a resolution better than 0.2 micrometres

2013 Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel for development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems

2012 Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors

2011 Dan Shechtman for the discovery of quasicrystals

2010 Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi, Akira Suzuki for palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis

2009 Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz, Ada E. Yonath for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome

2008 Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie, Roger Y. Tsien for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP

2007 Gerhard Ertl for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces

2006 Roger O. Kornberg for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription

2005 Yves Chauvin, Robert H. Grubbs, Richard R. Schrock for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis

2004 Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko, Irwin Rose for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation

2003 Peter Agre, Roderick MacKinnon for discoveries concerning channels in cell membranes

2002 John B. Fenn, Koichi Tanaka, Kurt Wüthrich for the development of methods for identification and structure analyses of biological macromolecules

2001 William S. Knowles, Ryoji Noyori, K. Barry Sharpless for their work on chirally catalysed hydrogenation reactions

2000 Alan Heeger, Alan G. MacDiarmid, Hideki Shirakawa for the discovery and development of conductive polymers

1999 Ahmed Zewail for his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy

1998 Walter Kohn for his development of the density-functional theory, John Pople for his development of computational methods in quantum chemistry

1997 Paul D. Boyer, John E. Walker for their elucidation of the enzymatic mechanism underlying the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)

1997 Jens C. Skou for the first discovery of an ion-transporting enzyme, Na+, K+ -ATPase

1996 Robert F. Curl Jr., Sir Harold Kroto, Richard E. Smalley for their discovery of fullerenes

1995 Paul J. Crutzen, Mario J. Molina, F. Sherwood Rowland for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone

1994 George A. Olah for his contribution to carbocation chemistry

1993 Kary B. Mullis, Michael Smith for contributions to the developments of methods within DNA-based chemistry

1992 Rudolph A. Marcus for his contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems

1991 Richard R. Ernst for his contributions to the development of the methodology of high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy

1990 Elias James Corey for his development of the theory and methodology of organic synthesis

1989 Sidney Altman, Thomas R. Cech for their discovery of catalytic properties of RNA

1988 Johann Deisenhofer, Robert Huber, Hartmut Michel for the determination of the three-dimensional structure of a photosynthetic reaction centre

1987 Donald J. Cram, Jean-Marie Lehn, Charles J. Pedersen for their development and use of molecules with structure-specific interactions of high selectivity

1986 Dudley R. Herschbach, Yuan T. Lee, John C. Polanyi for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes

1985 Herbert A. Hauptman, Jerome Karle for their outstanding achievements in the development of direct methods for the determination of crystal structures

1984 Bruce Merrifield for his development of methodology for chemical synthesis on a solid matrix

1983 Henry Taube for his work on the mechanisms of electron transfer reactions, especially in metal complexes

1982 Aaron Klug for his development of crystallographic electron microscopy and his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes

1981 Kenichi Fukui, Roald Hoffmann for their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions

1980 Paul Berg for his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids, with particular regard to recombinant-DNA

1980 Walter Gilbert and Frederick Sanger for their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids

1979 Herbert C. Brown, Georg Wittig for their development of the use of boron- and phosphorus-containing compounds, respectively, into important reagents in organic synthesis

1978 Peter Mitchell for his contribution to the understanding of biological energy transfer through the formulation of the chemiosmotic theory

1977 Ilya Prigogine for his contributions to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures

1976 William Lipscomb for his studies on the structure of boranes illuminating problems of chemical bonding

1975 John Cornforth

Vladimir Prelog

for his work on the stereochemistry of enzyme-catalyzed reactions

for his research into the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions

1974 Paul J. Flory for his fundamental achievements, both theoretical and experimental, in the physical chemistry of the macromolecules

1973 Ernst Otto Fischer, Geoffrey Wilkinson for their pioneering work, performed independently, on the chemistry of the organometallic, so called sandwich compounds

1972 Christian Anfinsen for his work on ribonuclease, especially concerning the connection between the amino acid sequence and the biologically active conformation

1972 Stanford Moore and William H. Stein for their contribution to the understanding of the connection between chemical structure and catalytic activity of the active centre of the ribonuclease molecule

1971 Gerhard Herzberg for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals

1970 Luis Leloir for his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates

1969 Derek Barton and Odd Hassel for their contributions to the development of the concept of conformation and its application in chemistry

1968 Lars Onsager for the discovery of the reciprocal relations bearing his name, which are fundamental for the thermodynamics of irreversible processes

1967 Manfred Eigen, Ronald G.W. Norrish, George Porter for their studies of extremely fast chemical reactions, effected by disturbing the equlibrium by means of very short pulses of energy

1966 Robert S. Mulliken for his fundamental work concerning chemical bonds and the electronic structure of molecules by the molecular orbital method

1965 Robert B. Woodward for his outstanding achievements in the art of organic synthesis

1964 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances

1963 Karl Ziegler and Giulio Natta for their discoveries in the field of the chemistry and technology of high polymers

1962 Max F. Perutz and John C. Kendrew for their studies of the structures of globular proteins

1961 Melvin Calvin for his research on the carbon dioxide assimilation in plants

1960 Willard F. Libby for his method to use carbon-14 for age determination in archaeology, geology, geophysics, and other branches of science

1959 Jaroslav Heyrovsky for his discovery and development of the polarographic methods of analysis

1958 Frederick Sanger for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin

1957 Lord Todd for his work on nucleotides and nucleotide co-enzymes

1956 Sir Cyril Hinshelwood and Nikolay Semenov for their researches into the mechanism of chemical reactions

1955 Vincent du Vigneaud for his work on biochemically important sulphur compounds, especially for the first synthesis of a polypeptide hormone

1954 Linus Pauling for his research into the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex substances

1953 Hermann Staudinger for his discoveries in the field of macromolecular chemistry

1952 Archer J.P. Martin and Richard L.M. Synge for their invention of partition chromatography

1951 Edwin M. McMillan and Glenn T. Seaborg for their discoveries in the chemistry of the transuranium elements

1950 Otto Diels and Kurt Alder for their discovery and development of the diene synthesis

1949 William F. Giauque for his contributions in the field of chemical thermodynamics, particularly concerning the behaviour of substances at extremely low temperatures

1948 Arne Tiselius for his research on electrophoresis and adsorption analysis, especially for his discoveries concerning the complex nature of the serum proteins

1947 Sir Robert Robinson for his investigations on plant products of biological importance, especially the alkaloids

1946 James B. Sumner for his discovery that enzymes can be crystallized

1946 John H. Northrop and Wendell M. Stanley for their preparation of enzymes and virus proteins in a pure form

1945 Artturi Virtanen for his research and inventions in agricultural and nutrition chemistry, especially for his fodder preservation method

1944 Otto Hahn for his discovery of the fission of heavy nuclei

1943 George de Hevesy for his work on the use of isotopes as tracers in the study of chemical processes

1942   The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section

1941   The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section

1940   The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section

1939 Adolf Butenandt for his work on sex hormones

1939 Leopold Ruzicka for his work on polymethylenes and higher terpenes

1938 Richard Kuhn for his work on carotenoids and vitamins

1937 Norman Haworth for his investigations on carbohydrates and vitamin C

1937 Paul Karrer for his investigations on carotenoids, flavins and vitamins A and B2

1936 Peter Debye for his contributions to our knowledge of molecular structure through his investigations on dipole moments and on the diffraction of X-rays and electrons in gases

1935 Frédéric Joliot and Irène Joliot-Curie in recognition of their synthesis of new radioactive elements

1934 Harold C. Urey for his discovery of heavy hydrogen

1933   The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section

1932 Irving Langmuir for his discoveries and investigations in surface chemistry

1931 Carl Bosch and Friedrich Bergius in recognition of their contributions to the invention and development of chemical high pressure methods

1930 Hans Fischer for his researches into the constitution of haemin and chlorophyll and especially for his synthesis of haemin

1929 Arthur Harden and Hans von Euler-Chelpin for their investigations on the fermentation of sugar and fermentative enzymes

1928 Adolf Windaus for the services rendered through his research into the constitution of the sterols and their connection with the vitamins

1927 Heinrich Wieland for his investigations of the constitution of the bile acids and related substances

1926 The Svedberg for his work on disperse systems

1925 Richard Zsigmondy for his demonstration of the heterogenous nature of colloid solutions and for the methods he used, which have since become fundamental in modern colloid chemistry

1924   The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section

1923 Fritz Pregl for his invention of the method of micro-analysis of organic substances

1922 Francis W. Aston for his discovery, by means of his mass spectrograph, of isotopes, in a large number of non-radioactive elements, and for his enunciation of the whole-number rule

1921 Frederick Soddy for his contributions to our knowledge of the chemistry of radioactive substances, and his investigations into the origin and nature of isotopes

1920 Walther Nernst in recognition of his work in thermochemistry

1919   The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section

1918 Fritz Haber for the synthesis of ammonia from its elements

1917   The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section

1916   The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section

1915 Richard Willstätter for his researches on plant pigments, especially chlorophyll

1914 Theodore W. Richards in recognition of his accurate determinations of the atomic weight of a large number of chemical elements

1913 Alfred Werner in recognition of his work on the linkage of atoms in molecules by which he has thrown new light on earlier investigations and opened up new fields of research especially in inorganic chemistry

1912 Victor Grignard for the discovery of the so-called Grignard reagent, which in recent years has greatly advanced the progress of organic chemistry

1912 Paul Sabatier for his method of hydrogenating organic compounds in the presence of finely disintegrated metals whereby the progress of organic chemistry has been greatly advanced in recent years

1911 Marie Curie in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element

1910 Otto Wallach in recognition of his services to organic chemistry and the chemical industry by his pioneer work in the field of alicyclic compounds

1909 Wilhelm Ostwald in recognition of his work on catalysis and for his investigations into the fundamental principles governing chemical equilibria and rates of reaction

1908 Ernest Rutherford for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances

1907 Eduard Buchner for his biochemical researches and his discovery of cell-free fermentation

1906 Henri Moissan in recognition of the great services rendered by him in his investigation and isolation of the element fluorine, and for the adoption in the service of science of the electric furnace called after him

1905 Adolf von Baeyer in recognition of his services in the advancement of organic chemistry and the chemical industry, through his work on organic dyes and hydroaromatic compounds

1904 Sir William Ramsay in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air, and his determination of their place in the periodic system

1903 Svante Arrhenius in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered to the advancement of chemistry by his electrolytic theory of dissociation

1902 Emil Fischer in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by his work on sugar and purine syntheses

1901 Jacobus H. van 't Hoff in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure in solutions

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