Nobel Prize 2020 : All The Winners & Their Brief Intro

This year the in-person prize ceremony has been cancelled understandably due to the novel coronavirus pandemic

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Nobel Chemistry Prize 2020 winners
American biochemist Jennifer A. Doudna (left) and French microbiologist Emmanuel Charpentier have jointly won the Nobel Chemistry Prize this year. Image : collected

Winners of the Nobel Prizes 2020 in all six categories-Peace, Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Medicine and Economics-have already been announced.

On October 9 as usual, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the last one of the five, is declared by the Norwegian Nobel Committee with the winner being UN food agency World Food Programme.

Nobel Prize 2020 winners in five categories are provided below in brief :

Nobel Literature Prize Winner : American poet Louise Gluck

American poet Louise Gluck (77) has been awarded this year’s Nobel Literature Prize for her ‘unmistakable poetic voice that makes individual existence universal, says the Norwegian Nobel Academy in its citation.

Gluck, born in New York in 1943, earlier won two other world renowned awards in literature. In 1993, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her collection ‘The Wild Iris’. And she was conferred the ‘National Book Award’ for her latest collection ‘Faithful and Virtuous Night’ in 2014.

Louise Gluck, a professor of English at Yale University, is the fourth woman to win the Nobel Literature Prize in the last decade and the only 16th woman since the Nobel Prizes were awarded first in 1901.

Nobel Peace Prize Winner : World Food Programme

The UN food agency World Food Programme (WFP) has won the Nobel Peace Prize this year for its efforts to combat hunger worldwide and other peace bringing contributions.

Last year, the Nobel Peace Prize was won by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy who helped end a long-running war between his country and neighboring Eritrea.

The UN agency was created in 196. Today it provides food to over 90 million people a year globally.

Describing the reason behind picking WFP for the award, the Norwegian Nobel committee in a statement said, ‘it was honored “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.’

Nobel Economics Prize winner : Paul Milgrom & Robert Wilson

American economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson have been awarded the Nobel Prize in economics this year for their contributions to auction theory.

Milgrom and Wilson, both professors at Stanford University in California, were recognized for theoretical discoveries that improved how auctions work.

According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, they also designed auction formats for goods and services that are difficult to sell in a traditional way, such as radio frequencies.

The prize for economics is officially known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences. It was established by Sweden’s central bank and has been awarded since 1969 in memory of industrialist Alfred Nobel.

Last year, the economics prize was awarded to Abhijit Banerjee (Indian economist), Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for their work to alleviate global poverty.

To note, Duflo, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was the youngest person and only the second woman to be awarded the prize.

Nobel Physics Prize Winner :  Penrose, Genzel & Ghez  

Three physicists are jointly awarded this year’s Nobel Physics Prize for their research into black holes, one of the most exotic phenomena in the universe.

They are British Roger Penrose (89), German Reinhard Genzel (68) and American Andrea Ghez (55).

Here to note, Ghez is just the fourth woman to win the physics prize since 1901 when the first Nobel prizes were handed out.

Roger Penrose is a professor at the University of Oxford in the UK while Reinhard Genzel is a director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany and a professor at the University of California.

And Andrea Ghez is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California in the USA.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry Winner : French Emmanuel Charpentier & American Jennifer A. Doudna

French microbiologist Emmanuel Charpentier and American biochemist Jennifer A. Doudna have jointly won the Nobel Chemistry Prize this year for their development of an unique gene editing tool which is known as CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping ‘scissors’.

Expressing ‘Wow’! in its citation the Nobel Jury said, ‘using the tool, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision.’

This is the first time in Nobel’s history that a women-only team has been awarded a Nobel science prize.

Nobel Medicine Prize Winner : Americans Harvey Alter & Charles Rice and British Michael Houghton

American researchers Harvey Alter & Charles Rice and British scientist Michael Houghton have jointly won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the year 2020.

The trio has been awarded the prize for their discovery of the Hepatitis C virus which has facilitated the development of a cure for the disease.

According to an estimate of the World Health Organization, there are nearly 70 million Hepatitis C infections globally, causing around 400k deaths each year.

Award Amount & Prize giving Ceremony  

To note, each Nobel Prize comes with a medal and a prize sum of 10 million Swedish Kronor which is equivalent of about US $1.1 million.

Nobel Prize winners usually receive their awards from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the death anniversary of Swedish engineer, chemist and industrialist Alfred Nobel who created the five Nobel prizes in his last will in 1895.

But this year the in-person ceremony has been cancelled understandably due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Instead the winners will receive their awards via a virtual ceremony staying in their home countries on December 10.

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