During the week of Oct 7, the 2019 Nobel Prize winners were awarded to people who have made strides to better humanity.
The Nobel Prize is funded by the fortune of Albert Nobel. Nobel was a 19th-century Swedish chemist and businessman who held many patents, dynamite being his most famous and lucrative. In his will, he dictated his fortune fund “prizes to those who … have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.” The Nobel Prize is awarded to people who have made great improvements in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature, peace, and economic sciences. Each of the winners is given a medal, a certificate and $900,000 (which is split if the award is given to multiple people).
Medicine: William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Gregg L. Semenza have been awarded for their work with cells and the ability of cells to react and sense different levels of oxygen. This will lead to new strategies for fighting diseases like cancer.
Physics: James Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz have been awarded. Peebles’ discoveries have contributed to the understanding of how the universe has evolved. Mayor and Queloz discovered an exoplanet orbiting a “solar-type star”.
Chemistry: John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino won this for their work in further developing lithium-ion batteries, which the Nobel Committee said has “laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society.”
Literature: Peter Handke has been awarded the 2019 prize for “linguistic ingenuity” that has “explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.” For her “narrative imagination,” Olga Tokarczuk has been awarded the 2018 prize, which was delayed due to a sexual assault accusation involving the Swedish Academy (the institution bestowing the award).
Peace Prize: Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, won for ending the long-running border dispute between Ethiopia and its neighbor Eritrea.
Economic Science: Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer have been awarded for their innovative strategy for decreasing global poverty, which involves dividing the problem into more manageable questions and answering them with experiments. Duflo, who is 46 years old, is the youngest person and the second woman to win the economic prize.
By awarding qualified and innovative people in these fields, the Nobel Prize has successfully met Alfred Nobel’s goal of encouraging those who have offered the “greatest benefit to humankind.”
By Sagarika Pal