The Nobel Prize committees have begun announcing the winners of this year’s prestigious awards, and each recipient is a trailblazer in their respective field.
The winners are chosen by committees in Sweden and Norway that select six individuals who have excelled in physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry, economic science, literature and peace work. Traditionally, the committees announce one winner each day in Stockholm and Oslo during the first full week of October, and an in-person ceremony follows at a later date. However, this will be the first year since the start of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic that the winners will receive their medals and diplomas (not to mention 10 million Swedish kronor, or $900,000) in Stockholm in December. The winners from the past two years have been invited to join as well.
The Nobel Prize winners have been announced each October since the awards’ inception in 1901. The awards are considered the most prestigious in the world and are given to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”
Keep scrolling to meet the 2022 Nobel Prize laureates who have been announced thus far.
Physiology or medicine: Dr. Svante Pääbo
Dr. Svante Pääbo won the 2022 Nobel Prize for his discoveries in human evolution.
The Sweden-based geneticist produced a full Neanderthal genome by extracting genetic material from 40,000-year-old bones, marking a groundbreaking milestone in ancient DNA studies.
Through his pioneering research, Svante Pääbo – this year’s #NobelPrize laureate in physiology or medicine – accomplished something seemingly impossible: sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans. pic.twitter.com/XO64ysoWnw
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 3, 2022
Physics: Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger
Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger’s work in quantum technology landed them the second Nobel Prize announced in 2022.
Although Aspect is from France, Clauser hales from the U.S., and Zeilinger is from Austria, the three separately performed “groundbreaking experiments” using entangled quantum states that behaved as one unit even after being separated. “Their results have cleared the way for new technology,” the committee stated.
Chemistry: Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless
The Nobel Prize for chemistry went to another trio, Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” the committee stated.
Together, they created a functional form of chemistry, click chemistry, which is a “straightforward route” to building molecular functions. Dr. Bertozzi “took click chemistry to a new level” and started utilizing it in living organisms.
Dr. Bertozzi is the eighth woman chemist to be awarded the prize, while Dr. Sharpless is the fifth scientist to be awarded two Nobel Prizes.
The #NobelPrize in Chemistry 2022 is about making difficult processes easier. Click chemistry and bioorthogonal reactions have taken chemistry into the era of functionalism. pic.twitter.com/hsNEBHDZ2U
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 5, 2022
Literature: Annie Ernaux
French novelist Annie Ernaux took home the Nobel Prize in literature as the 17th woman to win the award since 1901. The author, who is 82, has been writing autobiographical stories about feminism and the human experience for more than 50 years.
This year’s #NobelPrize laureate in literature Annie Ernaux has said that writing is a political act, opening our eyes for social inequality. For this purpose she uses language as “a knife”, as she calls it, to tear apart the veils of imagination. pic.twitter.com/TQm6rxjvMp
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 6, 2022
In her writing, 2022 #NobelPrize laureate in literature Annie Ernaux consistently and from different angles, examines a life marked by strong disparities regarding gender, language and class. She has written over thirty literary works.
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 6, 2022
Peace work: Ales Bialiatski, human rights organizations Center for Civil Liberties and Memorial
The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize is shared by three recipients: Belarus-based human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski, Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties and Russian human rights organization Memorial.
Bialiatski is the founder of Belarus human rights organization Viasna, or Spring, which was born in 1996 in response to authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko, per CNN. The longtime advocate was arrested in 2020 after participating in protests against Lukashenko. According to the Nobel committee, Bialiatski is still detained without trial, but “despite tremendous personal hardship, Mr. Bialiatski has not yielded an inch in his fight for human rights and democracy in Belarus.”
The Center for Civil Liberties has been working tirelessly since Russia invaded Ukraine to “identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population” and is playing a key role in “holding the guilty parties accountable for their crimes,” the committee stated.
The third recipient, Memorial, was founded in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union to expose abuse and injustice. It was shut down by a Russian court in December 2021 for violating Russia’s “foreign agent” law.