Nobel Prize Day: What we know about our 2021 winners

Students

The Nobel Prizes are some of the most prestigious awards in the world.  They showcase great accomplishments and revolutionary ideas which have produced a positive impact on mankind. The awards started in 1901 after Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor and philanthropist, donated some of his fortune to establish awards in the disciplines of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace.

The likes of Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Malala Yousafzai and many other important figures and organisations have received Nobel prizes each year to date. In anticipation for tonight's award ceremony, we thought to look at this year's winners, find out a bit more about them, and see how they have changed our future. 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2021, Abdulrazak Gurnah

Abdulrazak is a 72 year old author and academic who won a Nobel prize in literature for his ground-breaking writing which deals with the issues of colonialism, identity and the hardships refugees face. His work is centred around East Africa, and how it has been affected by war, something Gurnah has experienced first hand. This can be seen in his most well-known book Paradise which excellently describes the topics on hand, and helps us understand more about this part of the world. 

The Nobel Peace Prize 2021 Maria Ressa and Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov

Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov from Russia are two journalists that have received the Nobel Peace Prize this year for their work towards protecting press freedom. The right to publish journalistic work without government restrictions or censorship. Ressa stated that although she is happy to receive the award she is still hoping for a better outcome for the future of press freedom. 

The Nobel Prize in Physics, Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, Giorgio Parisi

The physics nobel prize was won by three scientists who have made groundbreaking discoveries on how to model complicated systems more accurately, so that we can improve our understanding of the effects of global warming. Manabe and Hasselmann focused on predictions for climate change. Parisi’s research centred on how disorder and fluctuations relate in physical systems of all scales. As climate change is becoming an increasing issue for all of us this could be revolutionary in combating it. 

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Benjamin List, David W.C. MacMillan

Two scientists, Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan, discovered that organic molecules can be used as catalysts, in a process called ‘asymmetric organocatalysis’.  These organic catalysts are environmentally friendly and can be produced at a low cost, they are a major breakthrough for the drug industry and can be used to create high tech materials that are now used in solar panels. With this we can be environmentally friendly at more affordable prices! 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, David Julius, Ardem Patapoutian

This year’s Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine has gone to two American scientists whose research focused on better understanding our sense of touch. David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian discovered receptors in skin which can detect heat, cold and touch. This discovery could lead to breakthroughs in areas of medicine such as pain relief. 

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, David Card, Joshua D. Angrist, Guido W. Imbens

US based economists David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens have been honoured for challenging the understanding of how the economy responds to minimum wage increases and immigration. Their use of new methodology, using ‘natural experiments’, helps us better understand these events and will be a starting point for future research in this area.

What do you think of this year's winners? Are you going to watch their speeches tonight? And who do you think should win next year? Let us know your thoughts. 

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Sadiyah Zaman

Sadiyah is our Senior Content Writer who uses her diverse background in design and language to create educational content for students and tutors alike. At home if she’s not chasing after her mischievous foster cat, she’ll most likely, with a large cup of coffee in hand, be scribbling away at her next writing ideas.

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