Science, Tech, Math › Science Nobel Prize in Chemistry Winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry from 1901 to the Present Share Flipboard Email Print Jacobus van't Hoff won the first Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1901. Science Chemistry Famous Chemists Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated July 03, 2019 Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist and the inventor of dynamite. Nobel recognized the destructive power of dynamite, but hoped that such power would lead to an end to warfare. However, dynamite was quickly exploited to develop newer, more deadly weapons. Not wanting to be remembered as the "merchant of death", an epitaph given him by a French newspaper in a mistaken obituary, Nobel wrote his will such that it would establish prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace to "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind." A sixth category, economics, was added in 1969. First Nobel Awarded in 1901 It took some time to implement Nobel's wishes. The first Nobel prize was awarded in 1901, which was five years after Alfred Nobel's death. Note that the Nobel prize can only be won by individuals, there can be no more than three winners in a given year, and money is split equally between multiple winners. Each winner gets a gold medal, a sum of money, and a diploma. Nobel Prize Laureates in Chemistry Year Laureate Country Research 1901 Jacobus H. van't Hoff Netherlands Discovered laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure in solutions 1902 Emil Hermann Fischer Germany Synthetic studies of sugar and purine groups 1903 Svante A. Arrhenius Sweden Theory of electrolytic dissociation 1904 Sir William Ramsay Great Britain Discovered the noble gases 1905 Adolf von Baeyer Germany Organic dyes and hydroaromatic compounds 1906 Henri Moissan France Studied and isolated the element fluorine 1907 Eduard Buchner Germany Biochemical studies, discovered fermentation without cells 1908 Sir Ernest Rutherford Great Britain Decay of the elements, chemistry of radioactive substances 1909 Wilhelm Ostwald Germany Catalysis, chemical equilibria, and reaction rates 1910 Otto Wallach Germany Alicyclic compounds 1911 Marie Curie Poland-France Discovered radium and polonium 1912 Victor Grignard Paul Sabatier France France Grignard's reagent Hydrogenation of organic compounds in the presence of finely divided metals 1913 Alfred Werner Switzerland Bonding relations of atoms in molecules (inorganic chemistry) 1914 Theodore W. Richards United States Determined atomic weights 1915 Richard M. Willstätter Germany Investigated plant pigments, particularly chlorophyll 1916 The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section 1917 The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section 1918 Fritz Haber Germany Synthesized ammonia from its elements 1919 The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section 1920 Walther H. Nernst Germany Studies on thermodynamics 1921 Frederick Soddy Great Britain Chemistry of radioactive substances, occurrence and nature of the isotopes 1922 Francis William Aston Great Britain Discovered several isotopes, mass spectrograph 1923 Fritz Pregl Austria Microanalysis of organic compounds 1924 The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section 1925 Richard A. Zsigmondy Germany, Austria Colloid chemistry (ultramicroscope) 1926 Theodor Svedberg Sweden Disperse systems (ultracentrifuge) 1927 Heinrich O. Wieland Germany Constitution of bile acids 1928 Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus Germany Study of sterols and their relation with vitamins (vitamin D) 1929 Sir Arthur Harden Hans von Euler-Chelpin Great Britain Sweden, Germany Studied fermentation of sugars and enzymes 1930 Hans Fischer Germany Studied blood and plant pigments, synthesized hemin 1931 Friedrich Bergius Karl Bosch Germany Germany Developed chemical high-pressure processes 1932 Irving Langmuir United States Surface chemistry 1933 The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section. 1934 Harold Clayton Urey United States Discovery of heavy hydrogen (deuterium) 1935 Frederic Joliot-Curie Iréne Joliot-Curie France France Syntheses of new radioactive elements (artificial radioactivity) 1936 Peter J. W. Debye Netherlands, Germany Studied dipole moments and the diffraction of X rays and electron beams by gases 1937 Walter N. Haworth Paul Karrer Great Britain Switzerland Studied carbohydrates and vitamin C Studied carotenoids and flavins and vitamins A and B 2 1938 Richard Kuhn Germany Studied carotenoids and vitamins 1939 Adolf F. J. Butenandt Lavoslav Stjepan Ružička Germany Switzerland Studies on sexual hormones Studied polymethylenes and higher terpenes 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 The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section. 1942 The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section. 1943 Georg de Hevesy Hungary Application of isotopes as indicators in the investigation of chemical processes 1944 Otto Hahn Germany Discovered nuclear fission of atoms 1945 Artturi Ilmari Virtanen Finland Discoveries in the area of agricultural and food chemistry, method of preservation of fodder 1946 James B. Sumner John H. Northrop Wendell M. Stanley United States United States United States Prepared enzymes and virus proteins in pure form Crystallizability of enzymes 1947 Sir Robert Robinson Great Britain Studied alkaloids 1948 Arne W. K. Tiselius Sweden Analysis using electrophoresis and adsorption, discoveries concerning serum proteins 1949 William F. Giauque United States Contributions to chemical thermodynamics, properties at extremely low temperatures (adiabatic demagnetization) 1950 Kurt Alder Otto P. H. Diels Germany Germany Developed diene synthesis 1951 Edwin M. McMillan Glenn T. Seaborg United States United States Discoveries in the chemistry of transuranium elements 1952 Archer J. P. Martin Richard L. M. Synge Great Britain Great Britain Invented distribution chromatography 1953 Hermann Staudinger Germany Discoveries in the area of macromolecular chemistry 1954 Linus C. Pauling United States Studied the nature of the chemical bond (molecular structure of proteins) 1955 Vincent du Vigneaud United States Synthesized a polypeptide hormone 1956 Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood Nikolai N. Semenov Great Britain Soviet Union Mechanisms of chemical reactions 1957 Sir Alexander R. Todd Great Britain Studied nucleotides and their coenzymes 1958 Frederick Sanger Great Britain Structure of proteins, especially insulin 1959 Jaroslav Heyrovský Czech Republic Polarography 1960 Willard F. Libby United States Application of carbon 14 for age determinations (radiocarbon dating) 1961 Melvin Calvin United States Studied the assimilation of carbonic acid by plants (photosynthesis) 1962 John C. Kendrew Max F. Perutz Great Britain Great Britain, Austria Studied the structures of globulin proteins 1963 Giulio Natta Karl Ziegler Italy Germany Chemistry and technology of high polymers 1964 Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin Great Britain Structure determination of biologically important substances by means of X rays 1965 Robert B. Woodward United States Syntheses of natural products 1966 Robert S. Mulliken United States Studied chemical bonds and the electron structure of molecules using the orbital method 1967 Manfred Eigen Ronald G. W. Norrish George Porter Germany Great Britain Great Britain Investigated extremely fast chemical reactions 1968 Lars Onsager United States, Norway Studied the thermodynamics of irreversible processes 1969 Derek H. R. Barton Odd Hassel Great Britain Norway Development of the concept of conformation 1970 Luis F. Leloir Argentina Discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates 1971 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Electron structure and geometry of molecules, particularly of free radicals (molecular spectroscopy) 1972 Christian B. Anfinsen Stanford Moore William H. Stein United States United States United States Studied ribonuclease (Anfinsen) Studied the active center of ribonuclease (Moore & Stein) 1973 Ernst Otto Fischer Geoffrey Wilkinson Germany Great Britain Chemistry of metal-organic sandwich compounds 1974 Paul J. Flory United States Physical chemistry of macromolecules 1975 John Cornforth Vladimir Prelog Australia - Great Britain Yugoslavia - Switzerland Stereochemistry of enzyme catalysis reactions Studied the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions 1976 William N. Lipscomb United States Structure of boranes 1977 Ilya Prigogine Belgium Contributions to the thermodynamics of irreversible processes, particularly to the theory of dissipative structures 1978 Peter Mitchell Great Britain Studied biological energy transfer, development of the chemiosmotic theory 1979 Herbert C. Brown Georg Wittig United States Germany Development of (organic) boron and phosphorous compounds 1980 Paul Berg Walter Gilbert Frederick Sanger United States United States Great Britain Studied the biochemistry of nucleic acids, particularly hybrid DNA (technology of gene surgery) (Berg) Determined base sequences in nucleic acids (Gilbert & Sanger) 1981 Kenichi Fukui Roald Hoffmann Japan United States Theories on the progress of chemical reactions (frontier orbital theory) 1982 Aaron Klug South Africa Developed crystallographic methods for the elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid protein complexes 1983 Henry Taube Canada Reaction mechanisms of electron transfer, especially with metal complexes 1984 Robert Bruce Merrifield United States Method for the preparation of peptides and proteins 1985 Herbert A. Hauptman Jerome Karle United States United States Developed direct methods for the determination of crystal structures 1986 Dudley R. Herschbach Yuan T. Lee John C. Polanyi United States United States Canada Dynamics of chemical elementary processes 1987 Donald James Cram Charles J. Pedersen Jean-Marie Lehn United States United States France Development of molecules with structurally specific interaction of high selectivity 1988 Johann Deisenhofer Robert Huber Hartmut Michel Germany Germany Germany Determined the three-dimensional structure of a photosynthetic reaction center 1989 Thomas Robert Cech Sidney Altman United States United States Discovered the catalytic properties of ribonucleic acid (RNA) 1990 Elias James Corey United States Developed novel methods for the synthesis of complex natural compounds (retrosynthetic analysis) 1991 Richard R. Ernst Switzerland Developed high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) 1992 Rudolph A. Marcus Canada - United States Theories of electron transfer 1993 Kary B. Mullis Michael Smith United States Great Britain - Canada Invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Development of site specific mutagenesis 1994 George A. Olah United States Carbocations 1995 Paul Crutzen Mario Molina F. Sherwood Rowland Netherlands Mexico - United States United States Work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone 1996 Harold W. Kroto Robert F. Curl, Jr. Richard E. Smalley Great Britain United States United States Discovered fullerenes 1997 Paul Delos Boyer John E. Walker Jens C. Skou United States Great Britain Denmark Elucidated the enzymatic mechanism underlying the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) first discovery of an ion-transporting enzyme, Na +, K +-ATPase 1998 Walter Kohn John A. Pople United States Great Britain Development of the density-functional theory (Kohn) Development of computational methods in quantum chemistry (GAUSSIAN computer programs) (Pope) 1999 Ahmed H. Zewail Egypt - United States Studied the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy 2000 Alan J. Heeger Alan G. MacDiarmid Hideki Shirakawa United States United States Japan Discovered and developed conductive polymers 2001 William S. Knowles Ryoji Noyori Karl Barry Sharpless United States Japan United States Work on chirally catalysed hydrogenation reactions (Knowles & Noyori) Work on chirally catalysed oxidation reactions (Sharpless) 2002 John Bennett Fenn Jokichi Takamine Kurt Wüthrich United States Japan Switzerland Developed soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules (Fenn & Tanaka) Developed nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution (Wüthrich) 2003 Peter Agre Roderick MacKinnon United States United States Discovered water channels for transport of water in cell membranes Performed structural and mechanistic studies of ion channels in cells 2004 Aaron Ciechanover Avaram Hershko Irwin Rose Israel Israel United States Discovered and elucidated the process of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation 2005 Yves Chauvin Robert H. Grubbs Richard R. Schrock France United States United States Developed the metathesis method of organic synthesis, allowing for advances in 'green' chemistry 2006 Roger D. Kornberg United States "for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription" 2007 Gerhard Ertl Germany "for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces" 2008 Shimomura Osamu Martin Chalfie Roger Y. Tsien United States "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP" 2009 Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Thomas A. Steitz Ada E. Yonath United Kingdom United States Isreal "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome" 2010 Ei-ichi Negishi Akira Suzuki Richard Heck Japan Japan United States "for the development of palladium-catalyzed cross coupling" 2011 Daniel Shechtman Israel "for the discovery of quasi-crystals" 2012 Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka United States "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors" 2013 Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, Arieh Warshel United States "for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems" 2014 Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell, William E. Moerner (USA) United States, Germany, United States “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy” 2016 Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, Bernard L. Feringa France, United States, Netherlands “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines” 2017 Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, Richard Henderson Switzerland, United States, United Kingdom “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution” Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Nobel Prize in Chemistry." ThoughtCo, May. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/chemistry-nobel-prize-winners-608597. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, May 16). Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/chemistry-nobel-prize-winners-608597 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Nobel Prize in Chemistry." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/chemistry-nobel-prize-winners-608597 (accessed June 25, 2021). copy citation History of the Nobel Prizes Biography of Alfred Nobel, Inventor of Dynamite How Many U.S. Presidents Have Won the Nobel Peace Prize? 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