Greatest scientists who never won a nobel prize

  1. At first I thought physicists, but then that would exclude too many for no good reason, but still excludes the scientists who haven't been around since nobel prizes have been given out.
  2. jcsd
  3. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Could we also do greatest discoveries for which no Nobel was awarded...?
  4. sure, why not
  5. Not really a scientist, but Gandhi comes to mind as one of the greatest peacekeepers who never won a Nobel Peace Prize.
  6. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    Freeman Dyson has not won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum field theory.

    Three contemporaries - Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, Julian Schwinger, Richard P. Feynman - won the Noble Prize in Physics in 1965 for their work in QFT.
  7. rhody

    rhody 710
    Gold Member

    Errr, did you mean to say, Quantum Electrodynamics ? (QED) link

    I know James Maxwell died in 1879, so that makes him a 19th century physicist, I don't know the rules of how Nobel Prizes are awarded, but if they were to include 19th century physicists, I would imagine he would have been awarded one.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  8. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    Well I was thinking more generically, but yes specifically Tomonaga, Schwinger and Feynman were recongized for contributions to QED.
  9. f95toli

    f95toli 2,472
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Well, two examples are Lisa Meitner (who first didn't share the prize because she didn't publish her findings, and later was disqualified because she became a member of the Nobel committee herself) and Henrietta Swan Leavitt (who was considered but died before she could be nominated).

    However, remember that you don't get the prize for being a great scientist. The prize is awarded to people who make an important discovery, it is not the same thing.
  10. The seminal work done by me, myself, and I.
  11. I like how you put things.
  12. Al Gore, for inventing the internet.
  13. lisab

    lisab 3,188
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No, he wouldn't qualify because the internet isn't made of's a series of tubes.

    Besides, he already won a Nobel prize :rolleyes:.
  14. cronxeh

    cronxeh 1,202
    Gold Member

    On that note.. John McCain, for being aware of the Internet
  15. Discovery that wasn't awarded by a Nobel Prize........

    Special and General Relativity

    Ciche for a physics forum, but no one had said it...
  16. Matterwave

    Matterwave 3,865
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Einstein's award did say something along the lines of "for contributions in Theoretical physics, and for the law of the Photoelectric effect".

    So maybe SR and GR were bundled in there with theoretical physics. Otherwise, Brownian motion was discovered by him too.

    Before Nobel, there are many, so I guess this is only for after Nobel?

    After Nobel...uh I can only think of the one time Born was snubbed for the 1932 prize. Even though Born had worked jointly with Heisenberg (and Jordan) regarding the matrix formulation of QM, only Heisenberg was given the prize (possibly due to Jordan's connection with the Nazi's). No need to panic, though, since Born got one later for his statistical interpretation of QM.
  17. Matterwave

    Matterwave 3,865
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Oh, I know. David Bohm and Yakir Aharonov never got one for the Aharonov-Bohm effect which is quite important in establishing the vector potential A as a "real" object. Bohm specifically deserved a Nobel prize imo for his contributions to Physics, including developing the De-Broglie-Bohm pilot wave formulation of QM.
  18. ideasrule

    ideasrule 2,315
    Homework Helper

    Rosalin Franklin. The structure of DNA couldn't have been discovered without her work on x-ray crystallography, but she died before the year her co-worker was awarded the Nobel prize.
  19. f95toli

    f95toli 2,472
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You can't -according to the rules- be awarded the prize for a theory that hasn't been experimentally verified, this means that you can't get it for working on interpretations of QM, string theory(at least at the moment) etc.
    There are several sciencits who can more or less be sure to win the prize if their theories are verified. Higgs will almost certainly get it if the LHC finds his boson.
  20. Nikola Tesla , Philo Farnsworth inventer of the TV and the fusor .
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?