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Nobel Prize in Physics

List of Nobel Prize laureates in Physics from 1901 to the present day. 174 awards have been given as of 2004.

See also List of Nobel laureates


1900s – 1910s – 1920s – 1930s – 1940s – 1950s – 1960s – 1970s – 1980s – 1990s – 2000s

1900s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1900s
Year Name Topics
1901 Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen "in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him"
1902 Hendrik Antoon Lorentz and Pieter Zeeman "in recognition of the extraordinary service they rendered by their researches into the influence of magnetism upon radiation phenomena"
1903 Antoine Henri Becquerel "in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by his discovery of spontaneous radioactivity"
Pierre and Marie Curie "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel"
1904 John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh "for his investigations of the densities of the most important gases and for his discovery of argon in connection with these studies"
1905 Philipp Eduard Anton von Lenard "for his work on cathode rays"
1906 Sir Joseph John Thomson "in recognition of the great merits of his theoretical and experimental investigations on the conduction of electricity by gases"
1907 Albert Abraham Michelson "for his optical precision instruments and the spectroscopic and metrological investigations carried out with their aid"
1908 Gabriel Lippmann "for his method of reproducing colours photographically based on the phenomenon of interference"
1909 Guglielmo Marconi and Karl Ferdinand Braun "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy"

1910s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1910s
Year Name Topics
1910 Johannes Diderik van der Waals "For his work on the equation of state for gases and liquids."
1911 Wilhelm Wien "For his discoveries regarding the laws governing the radiation of heat."
1912 Nils Gustaf Dalén "For his invention of automatic regulators for use in conjunction with gas accumulators for illuminating lighthouses and buoys."
1913 Heike Kamerlingh-Onnes "For his investigations on the properties of matter at low temperatures which led, inter alia, to the production of liquid helium"
1914 Max von Laue "For his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals."
1915 Sir William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg "For their services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays."
1916 (The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.)
1917 Charles Glover Barkla "For his discovery of the characteristic Röntgen radiation of the elements."
1918 Max Planck "In recognition of the services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta."
1919 Johannes Stark "For his discovery of the Doppler effect in canal rays and the splitting of spectral lines in electric fields."

1920s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1920s
Year Name Topics
1920 Charles Edouard Guillaume "in recognition of the service he has rendered to precision measurements in Physics by his discovery of anomalies in nickel steel alloys"
1921 Albert Einstein "for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect"
1922 Niels Henrik David Bohr "for his services in the investigation of the structure of atoms and of the radiation emanating from them"
1923 Robert Andrews Millikan "for his work on the elementary charge of electricity and on the photoelectric effect"
1924 Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn "for his discoveries and research in the field of X-ray spectroscopy"
1925 James Franck and Gustav Ludwig Hertz "for their discovery of the laws governing the impact of an electron upon an atom"
1926 Jean Baptiste Perrin "for his work on the discontinuous structure of matter, and especially for his discovery of sedimentation equilibrium"
1927 Arthur Holly Compton "for his discovery of the effect named after him". See:Compton effect
Charles Thomson Rees Wilson "for his method of making the paths of electrically charged particles visible by condensation of vapour"
1928 Owen Willans Richardson "for his work on the thermionic phenomenon and especially for the discovery of the law named after him"
1929 Prince Louis-Victor Pierre Raymond de Broglie "for his discovery of the wave nature of electrons"

1930s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1930s
Year Name Topics
1930 Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman "for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him"
1931 (The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.)
1932 Werner Karl Heisenberg "for the creation of quantum mechanics, the application of which has, inter alia, led to the discovery of the allotropic forms of hydrogen"
1933 Erwin Schrödinger and Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory"
1934 (The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.)
1935 James Chadwick "for the discovery of the neutron"
1936 Victor Franz Hess "for his discovery of cosmic radiation"
Carl David Anderson "for his discovery of the positron"
1937 Clinton Joseph Davisson and George Paget Thomson "for their experimental discovery of the diffraction of electrons by crystals"
1938 Enrico Fermi "for his demonstrations of the existence of new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation, and for his related discovery of nuclear reactions brought about by slow neutrons"
1939 Ernest Orlando Lawrence "for the invention and development of the cyclotron and for results obtained with it, especially with regard to artificial radioactive elements"

1940s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1940s
Year Name Topics
1940 The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.
1941
1942
1943 Otto Stern "for his contribution to the development of the molecular ray method and his discovery of the magnetic moment of the proton"
1944 Isidor Isaac Rabi "for his resonance method for recording the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei"
1945 Wolfgang Pauli "for the discovery of the Exclusion Principle, also called the Pauli principle"
1946 Percy Williams Bridgman "for the invention of an apparatus to produce extremely high pressures, and for the discoveries he made therewith in the field of high pressure physics"
1947 Sir Edward Victor Appleton "for his investigations of the physics of the upper atmosphere especially for the discovery of the so-called Appleton layer"
1948 Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett "for his development of the Wilson cloud chamber method, and his discoveries therewith in the fields of nuclear physics and cosmic radiation"
1949 Hideki Yukawa (湯川 秀樹) "for his prediction of the existence of mesons on the basis of theoretical work on nuclear forces"

1950s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1950s
Year Name Topics
1950 Cecil Frank Powell "for his development of the photographic method of studying nuclear processes and his discoveries regarding mesons made with this method"
1951 Sir John Douglas Cockcroft and Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton "for their pioneer work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles"
1952 Felix Bloch and Edward Mills Purcell "for their development of new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements and discoveries in connection therewith"
1953 Frits (Frederik) Zernike "for his demonstration of the phase contrast method, especially for his invention of the phase contrast microscope"
1954 Max Born "for his fundamental research in quantum mechanics, especially for his statistical interpretation of the wavefunction"
Walther Bothe "for the coincidence method and his discoveries made therewith"
1955 Willis Eugene Lamb "for his discoveries concerning the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum"
Polykarp Kusch "for his precision determination of the magnetic moment of the electron"
1956 William Bradford Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Houser Brattain "for their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect"
1957 Chen Ning Yang (楊振寧 Pinyin: Yáng Zhènníng) and Tsung-Dao Lee (李政道 Pinyin: Lǐ Zhèngdào) "for their penetrating investigation of the so-called parity laws which has led to important discoveries regarding the elementary particles"
1958 Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov (Павел Алексеевич Черенков), Il'ia Frank (Илья Михайлович Франк), and Igor Yevgenyevich Tamm (Игорь Евгеньевич Тамм) "for the discovery and the interpretation of the Cherenkov-Vavilov effect"
1959 Emilio Gino Segre and Owen Chamberlain "for their discovery of the antiproton"

1960s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1960s
Year Name Topics
1960 Donald Arthur Glaser "for the invention of the bubble chamber"
1961 Robert Hofstadter "for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his thereby achieved discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleons"
Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer "for his researches concerning the resonance absorption of gamma radiation and his discovery in this connection of the effect which bears his name". See:Mossbauer effect
1962 Lev Davidovich Landau (Лев Давидович Ландау) "for his pioneering theories for condensed matter, especially liquid helium"
1963 Eugene Paul Wigner "for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles"
Maria Goeppert-Mayer and J. Hans D. Jensen "for their discoveries concerning nuclear shell structure"
1964 Charles Hard Townes, Nicolay Gennadiyevich Basov (Николай Геннадиевич Басов), and Aleksandr Prokhorov (Александр Михайлович Прохоров) "for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle"
1965 Sin-Itiro Tomonaga (朝永 振一郎), Julian Schwinger, and Richard P. Feynman "for their fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles"
1966 Alfred Kastler "for the discovery and development of optical methods for studying Hertzian resonances in atoms"
1967 Hans Albrecht Bethe "for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions, especially his discoveries concerning the energy production in stars"
1968 Luis Walter Alvarez "for his decisive contributions to elementary particle physics, in particular the discovery of a large number of resonance states, made possible through his development of the technique of using hydrogen bubble chamber and data analysis"
1969 Murray Gell-Mann "for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions"

1970s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1970s
Year Name Topics
1970 Hannes Olof Gösta Alfvén "for fundamental work and discoveries in magneto-hydrodynamics with fruitful applications in different parts of plasma physics"
Louis Eugene Félix Néel "for fundamental work and discoveries concerning antiferromagnetism and ferrimagnetism which have led to important applications in solid state physics"
1971 Dennis Gabor "for his invention and development of the holographic method"
1972 John Bardeen, Leon Neil Cooper, and John Robert Schrieffer "for their jointly developed theory of superconductivity, usually called the BCS-theory"
1973 Leo Esaki (江崎 玲於奈) and Ivar Giaever "for their experimental discoveries regarding tunneling phenomena in semiconductors and superconductors, respectively"
Brian David Josephson "for his theoretical predictions of the properties of a supercurrent through a tunnel barrier, in particular those phenomena which are generally known as the Josephson effect"
1974 Sir Martin Ryle and Antony Hewish "for their pioneering research in radio astrophysics: Ryle for his observations and inventions, in particular of the aperture synthesis technique, and Hewish for his decisive role in the discovery of pulsars"
1975 Aage Niels Bohr, Ben Roy Mottelson, and Leo James Rainwater "for the discovery of the connection between collective motion and particle motion in atomic nuclei and the development of the theory of the structure of the atomic nucleus based on this connection"
1976 Burton Richter and Samuel Chao Chung Ting (丁肇中 Pinyin: Dīng Zhàozhōng) "for their pioneering work in the discovery of a heavy elementary particle of a new kind". In other words: for discovery of the J/Ψ particle as it confirmed the idea that baryonic matter (such as the nuclei of atoms) is made out of quarks.
1977 Philip Warren Anderson, Sir Nevill Francis Mott, and John Hasbrouck van Vleck "for their fundamental theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems"
1978 Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa (Пётр Леонидович Капица) "for his basic inventions and discoveries in the area of low-temperature physics"
Arno Allan Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson "for their discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation"
1979 Sheldon Lee Glashow, Abdus Salam, and Steven Weinberg "for their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current"

1980s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1980s
Year Name Topics
1980 James Watson Cronin and Val Logsdon Fitch "for the discovery of violations of fundamental symmetry principles in the decay of neutral K-mesons"
1981 Nicolaas Bloembergen and Arthur Leonard Schawlow "for their contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy"
Kai Manne Boerje Siegbahn "for his contribution to the development of high-resolution electron spectroscopy"
1982 Kenneth G. Wilson "for his theory for critical phenomena in connection with phase transitions"
1983 Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar "for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars"
William Alfred Fowler "for his theoretical and experimental studies of the nuclear reactions of importance in the formation of the chemical elements in the universe"
1984 Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer "for their decisive contributions to the large project, which led to the discovery of the field particles W and Z, communicators of weak interaction"
1985 Klaus von Klitzing "for the discovery of the quantized Hall effect"
1986 Ernst Ruska "for his fundamental work in electron optics, and for the design of the first electron microscope"
Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer "for their design of the scanning tunneling microscope"
1987 Johannes Georg Bednorz and Karl Alexander Müller "for their important break-through in the discovery of superconductivity in ceramic materials"
1988 Leon Max Lederman, Melvin Schwartz, and Jack Steinberger "for the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino"
1989 Norman Foster Ramsey "for the invention of the separated oscillatory fields method and its use in the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks"
Hans Georg Dehmelt and Wolfgang Paul "for the development of the ion trap technique"

1990s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1990s
Year Name Topics
1990 Jerome Isaac Friedman, Henry Way Kendall, and Richard Edward Taylor "for their pioneering investigations concerning deep inelastic scattering of electrons on protons and bound neutrons, which have been of essential importance for the development of the quark model in particle physics"
1991 Pierre-Gilles de Gennes "for discovering that methods developed for studying order phenomena in simple systems can be generalized to more complex forms of matter, in particular to liquid crystals and polymers"
1992 Georges Charpak "for his invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multiwire proportional chamber"
1993 Russell Alan Hulse and Joseph Hooton Taylor Jr. "for the discovery of a new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation"
1994 "for pioneering contributions to the development of neutron scattering techniques for studies of condensed matter"
Bertram Neville Brockhouse "for the development of neutron spectroscopy"
Clifford Glenwood Shull "for the development of the neutron diffraction technique"
1995 "for pioneering experimental contributions to lepton physics"
Martin Lewis Perl "for the discovery of the tau lepton"
Frederick Reines "for the detection of the neutrino"
1996 David Morris Lee, Douglas Dean Osheroff, and Robert Coleman Richardson "for their discovery of superfluidity in helium-3"
1997 Steven Chu(朱棣文, pinyin: zhū dìwén), Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, and William Daniel Phillips "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light"
1998 Robert B. Laughlin, Horst Ludwig Störmer, and Daniel Chee Tsui(崔琦, pinyin: cuī qí) "for their discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations". In other words, the discovery of the Quantum Hall effect from an experiment in 1982, which basically found conditions that allowed for observation of fractionally charged electrons.
1999 Gerardus 't Hooft and Martinus J.G. Veltman "for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions in physics"

2000s

Nobel Prize in Physics, 2000s
Year Name Topics
2000
Zhores Ivanovich Alferov (Жорес Иванович Алферов) and Herbert Kroemer "for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed- and optoelectronics"
Jack St. Clair Kilby "for his part in the invention of the integrated circuit"
2001 Eric Allin Cornell, Wolfgang Ketterle, and Carl Edwin Wieman "for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates"
2002 Raymond Davis Jr. and Masatoshi Koshiba (小柴 昌俊) "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos"
Riccardo Giacconi "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which have led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources"
2003 Alexei Alexeevich Abrikosov (Алексей Алексеевич Абрикосов), Vitaly Lazarevich Ginzburg (Виталий Лазаревич Гинзбург) and Anthony James Leggett "for pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluids"
2004 David J. Gross, H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek "for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction"

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