The 2019 Nobel Prize announcements are underway this week, with the first prize, in the category of physiology or medicine, going to a trio of scientists for their work on cells’ ability to sense and react to oxygen availability.
The Nobel Prize in physics, chemistry and literature have been announced and the prizes in peace and economic sciences will follow over the next few days. The awards are a recognition of work that advances each of the respective fields. Nobel winners are given a medal, a certificate and a cash award of about $900,000 (when multiple people win a single Nobel, they typically split the cash award.)
Here are the 2019 Nobel Prize winners (so far):
2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza won the 2019 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. The trio “identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen,” according to The Nobel Assembly. Their work, says the Assembly, has “paved the way for promising new strategies to fight anemia, cancer and many other diseases.”
2019 Nobel Prize in Physics
James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz won the 2019 Nobel Prize in physics. Peebles, of Princeton University, received half of the award, per the Nobel Assembly, for work focused on “theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology,” while Mayor and Queloz, of the University of Geneva (and, for Queloz, Cambridge University) shared half the award “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”
“This year’s Laureates have transformed our ideas about the cosmos,” the Assembly wrote in a release accompanying the Prize’s announcement. “While James Peebles’ theoretical discoveries contributed to our understanding of how the universe evolved after the Big Bang, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz explored our cosmic neighborhoods on the hunt for unknown planets. Their discoveries have forever changed our conceptions of the world.”
2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino won the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry. The three scientists have all worked to develop and advance lithium-ion batteries, now-ubiquitous technology which the Nobel Assembly said has “laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society.”
2019 Nobel Prize in Literature
Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke won the 2019 Nobel Prize in literature “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience,” according to the Nobel Assembly. Polish author Olga Tokarczuk won the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life,” the Assembly said. The two awards were both given out this year because last year’s announcement was canceled in the midst of sexual assault allegations.
2019 Nobel Peace Prize
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his work to bring an end to a long-running border dispute between his country and neighboring Eritrea. The Norwegian Nobel Committee also cited Abiy’s internal reforms.
“It was Abiy who jumpstarted the peace process in June 2018, just three months after taking office,” writes TIME’s Aryn Baker. “In a surprise move, he said he would hand a disputed border town over to Eritrea, in accordance with the terms of a long-neglected peace agreement from 2000. A few weeks later Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki declared an end to the war between the two countries.”
Climate activist Greta Thunberg was a favorite to win the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
2019 Prize in Economic Sciences
A trio of economists, Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, received the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”
“This year’s Laureates have introduced a new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty,” reads a statement from The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. “In brief, it involves dividing this issue into smaller, more manageable, questions — for example, the most effective interventions for improving educational outcomes or child health. They have shown that these smaller, more precise, questions are often best answered via carefully designed experiments among the people who are most affected.”
Duflo, a 46-year-old professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the youngest person to win the economics prize, the Associated Press reports. She’s also only the second-ever woman to receive the prize.
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