The Nobel Committee has announced all the winners for the Nobel Prize 2020. As always, the ceremony will be held on 10 December; the day of Alfred Nobel’s death. The namesake of this prestigious award left almost all his wealth for the establishment of this prize.
Since 1901, his wealth and instructions have played a key role in making a reward system for acclaimed individuals. More than 960 laureates from various professions received the Nobel Prize for their remarkable achievements. The reward includes a Diploma and prize money which has varied over time. This year the prize money is 10 Million SEK (Swedish Krona) or around 1.1 Million USD.
The Nobel Prize 2020 Classes
Originally, the award was reserved for the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace. Then in 1968, Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank established a new Prize in Economics Science in the memory of Alfred Nobel. According to the Nobel Prize community, 52 prizes in Economics Science have been awarded to 86 laureates.
The recipients of the Nobel Prize 2020 include 11 individuals and 1 organization. Chronologically, here are the announcements for each laureate who made a significant contribution in their respective class:
Nobel Prize In Physiology or Medicine
The first announcement on 5 October was regarding Physiology or Medicine. Three scientists, Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice received the joint award for discovering the hepatitis C virus. Their work was a decisive contribution to an ongoing fight against blood-borne hepatitis. It is a global health concern that causes liver cancer and cirrhosis among humans.
Groundbreaking discoveries from these three scientists led to the discovery of this novel virus. Previously, medical science was able to deal with hepatitis A and B but failed to explain plenty of blood-borne hepatitis cases.
Their discovery made it is possible to find the cause of chronic hepatitis and its medication that has saved countless lives. The prize amount would be distributed equally between all three laureates.
Nobel Prize In Physics
For this class, the academy decided to award the Nobel Prize 2020 in two halves on 6 October. One half was given to Roger Penrose and the second half was mutually given to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez.
Penrose earned this acclamation for establishing that the formation of a black hole is a direct consequence of Albert Einstein’s relativity theory. However, Einstein never believed it himself that black holes exist. Penrose used nifty mathematical techniques to prove that they do and that Einstein was also close to figuring it all out.
His study detailed the formation of black holes and what do they contain. Actually, he did this after 10 years of Einstein’s death, the Nobel Prize is two decades too late. His work revealed that due to hidden singularity, all laws of nature would cease to exist inside the black hole. Since Einstein, Penrose’s work is still regarded as the most significant contribution to the general theory of relativity.
The other two recipients, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez discovered a supermassive compact object at the center of the galaxy. According to both of them, this object was invisible but it is extremely heavy and governs all the stars inside the Milky Way. They led a team of astronomers who were focusing on the region they call Sagittarius A* since the early 1990s.
They developed new and effective methods to look into the center of the galaxy, past the clouds of interstellar dust and gas. The duo refined new ways to deal with distortions caused by Earth’s atmosphere. However, there was only one explanation for the heavy invisible object they discovered; that it is a supermassive black hole
Nobel Prize In Chemistry
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry went jointly to two women on 7 October. The academy exclaimed that these brilliant women have revolutionized molecular science. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna developed a workable method for genome editing. They discovered genetic scissors named CRISPR/Cas9 which can literally rewrite the code of life. Geneticists can alter the DNA of microorganisms, animals, and plants with extreme precision by using this tool.
This process was possible to some extent, but it was highly risky and time-consuming. Charpentier and Doudna’s achievement made it possible to achieve results within weeks. The Nobel community mentioned that this revolutionary impact is not limited to basic science, but it will also improve medical treatments.
It started when Charpentier discovered an unidentified molecule during her study of a bacterial virus called Streptococcus Pyogenes. She figured out that this molecule was part of bacteria’s ancient immune system. She published her research in 2011 before beginning her work with Doudna, who was a formidable biochemist. They both created a scissor tool in order to disarm the virus by slicing its DNA.
Two women jointly won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the first time in the history of this award.
Nobel Prize In Literature
On 8 October, an American poet named Louise Gluck (rhymes with ‘click’) received the Nobel Prize 2020 for the Literature class. The committee praised her sweet voice and poems because they dive deep into the heart of family life.
Gluck is one of America’s most celebrated poets and has written several collections. Her literature deals with the challenges of family and aging. She has also won a Pulitzer Prize for poems twice; first in 1993 for ‘The Wild Iris’ and then in 2014 for ‘Faithful and Virtuous Night’.
The poet herself was in disbelief after she learned of her selection. Reportedly, she felt unsettled and stunned to receive the award as a white American when so many other exceptional poets and writers have been overlooked for this prize.
Nobel Prize In Peace
The concerns for multilateralism and international solidarity continue to rise since the beginning of time. In that light, the Nobel Committee decided to give this prize to the World Food Programme (WFP) on 9 October. It is the largest humanitarian organization in the world fighting world hunger and improving peace conditions in areas battered by conflict. It became a driving force in preventing hunger from being used as a weapon of war.
According to records, WFP helped nearly 100 million people in 88 countries in 2019. These people were the victims of world hunger and food insecurity. The two plagues arising from the armed conflict has affected more than 135 million people around the world. To top that off, coronavirus created an uncountable upsurge in the victims of hunger and brought multiple countries to the edge of starvation.
In the face of multiple crises, WFP intensified their efforts. They answered the pandemic with their motto that until this world finds a vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos. It was probably a better choice than US President Donald Trump, who was recently nominated for the peace prize.
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize In Economic Sciences In Memory Of Alfred Nobel
In the end, on 12 October the prize for the final class went to the American economists, Paul R. Milgrom, and Robert B. Wilson. This joint award was for making improvements in the auction theory and inventing new auction formats. They started with fundamental theory and then applied it in practical circumstances to extract results.
They invented new formats for the seller to auction several interrelated objects like radio frequencies, minerals, and energy. Procuring such objects was a hitch due to the bidder’s intention of increasing the price. However, the economists made the new model for the interest of society rather than achieving the highest value for that object.
Reportedly the academy could not reach Milgrom, so they sent his winning partner to his house in the middle of the night to deliver this news. The security cam on the door recorded the footage
Committee said that their work is of great value to the society and it has already spread globally.