Nobel Prize in Physics

2015 Nobel Prize in Physics

Picture of a Japanese man in his mid-fifties, in a suite with a blue tie, smiling while talking on a cellphone.
Takaaki Kajita speaks on the phone to Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe during a press conference on October 6, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. The Nobel committee announced on October 6, 2015 that Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo and Arthur B. McDonald of Queen's University in Canada won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering that the elusive subatomic particles known as neutrinos have mass. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

 On October 6, 2015, the Nobel Prize committee announced that the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald "for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass."

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - DECEMBER 10: Professor Isamu Akasaki, Professor Hiroshi Amano and Professor Shuji Nakamura, laureates of the Nobel Prize in Physics seen on stage at the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony at Concert Hall on December 10, 2014 in Stockholm, Sweden. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

On October 7, 2014, the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources."  More »

2013 - Higgs Boson

Peter Higgs awaits the July 4, 2012, official announcement that CERN has found evidence consistent with the Higgs boson that he predicted in the 1960's. CERN, copyright 2012
On October 8, 2013, the Nobel Committee announced that the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics was being jointly awarded to both the Belgian physicist  Francois Englert and the Scottish physicist  Peter Higgs " for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider."

2012 - Isolating Quantum Systems

2012 Nobel Laureate David Wineland. Public Domain/NIST (per Wikimedia Commons)

 The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring & manipulation of individual quantum systems" with the prize awarded jointly to David Wineland and Serge Haroche.

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded "for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae" with one half to Saul Perlmutter and the other half jointly to Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess. More »

2010 - Graphene

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - DECEMBER 10: (L -R) The Nobel Prize in Physics winners Konstantin Novoselov from Russia and Andre Geim from Russia wait to receive their award during the annual Nobel Prize Award Ceremony at The Concert Hall on December 10, 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden. The award is regarded as the highest honor a scientist can receive in the field of physics. (Photo by Patrik Osterberg/Getty Images). Patrik Osterberg/Getty Images

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene."

2009 - Imaging Technology

George E. Smith is one of the recipients of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics. National Academy of Engineering

 On October 6, 2009, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded on Oct. 6, 2009, split between two sets of recipients:

  • Charles K. Kao - 1/2 the prize "for groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication"
  • Willard S. Boyle & George E. Smith - 1/4 of the prize each "for the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit - the CCD sensor"

2008 - Spontaneous Broken Symmetry

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - DECEMBER 10: Toshihide Maskawa of Japan, one of three scientists awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2008, receives her prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden during the Nobel Foundation Prize 2008 Awards Ceremony at the Concert Hall on December 10, 2008 in Stockholm, Sweden. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The first half of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Yoichiro Nambu "for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics."

The other half of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa "for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature."

2007 - Giant Magnetoresistance

A picture of French physicist Albert Fert in mid-lecture. Fert recieved the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in the discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance, which is key to the operation of computer hard drive storage devices. Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique -

The 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics was jointly awarded to Albert Fert and Peter Grunberg "for the discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance."

Released to public domain from NASA & Wikipedia.

The 2006 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to John C. Mather and George F. Smoot "for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation."  More »

2005 - Quantum Optics and Laser Spectroscopy

The 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded in a split between one-half of the prize to Roy J. Glauber " for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence" and one-quarter each to John L. Hall and Theodor W. Hansch " for their contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique."

The 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to David J. Gross, H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek "for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction.More »

The 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Alexei A. Abrikosov, Vitaly L. Ginzburg and Anthony J. Leggett "for pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluids". More »

2002 - Cosmic Radiation

The 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics was divided, one half jointly to Raymond Davis Jr. and Masatoshi Koshiba "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos" and the other half to Riccardo Giacconi "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which have led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources". 

2001 - Bose-Einstein Condensate

The 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics was shared by Eric A. Cornell, Wolfgang Ketterle and Carl E. 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"

2000 - Semiconductors and Integrated Circuits

The 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded "for basic work on information and communication technology."

Half of the Prize was shared by Zhores I. Alferov and Herbert Kroemer "for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed- and opto-electronics" and the other half was awarded to Jack S. Kilby "for his part in the invention of the integrated circuit."

1999 - Electroweak Interactions

The 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics was jointly awarded to Gerardus 't Hooft and Martinus J.G. Veltman "for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions in physics

1998 - New Quantum Fluid and Fractional Quantum Hall Effect

The 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics was shared by Robert B. Laughlin, Horst L. Störmer and Daniel C. Tsui "for their discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations"

1997 - Laser Trapping

The 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics was shared by Steven Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William D. Phillips "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light."

1996 - Superfluidity in Helium-3

The 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics was jointly awarded to David M. Lee, Douglas D. Osheroff and Robert C. Richardson "for their discovery of superfluidity in helium-3."

1995 - Tau Lepton and Neutrino

The 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded "for pioneering contributions to lepton physics," with the award split jointly and evenly between Martin L. Perl "for the discovery of the tau lepton" and Frederick Reines "for the detection of the neutrino." 

The 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded "for pioneering contributions to the development of neutron scattering techniques for studies of condensed matter." The award was split jointly between Bertram N. Brockhouse "for the development of neutronspectroscopy" and Clifford G. Shull "for the development of the neutron diffractiontechnique." More »

1993 - Revolutionary Pulsar Discovery

The 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Russell A. Hulse and Joseph H. Taylor, Jr., "for the discovery of a new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation."

The 1992 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Georges Charpak "for his invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multiware proportion chamber."  More »

The 1991 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to 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." More »

1990 - Inelastic Scattering of Electrons

The Standard Model of Elementary Particles. Fermilab

The 1990 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to jointly to Jerome I. Friedman, Henry W. Kendall, and Richard E. 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."

1989 - Advances in examining atoms

Breakway schematic of an ion trap mass spectrometer.
Schematic diagram of ion trap mass spectrometer with an electrospray ionization (ESI) source and Paul ion trap. Public Domain (by owner, per Wikimedia Commons)

The 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics was divided, with one half awarded to Norman F. Ramsey "for the invention of the separated oscillatory fields method and its use in the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks," and the other half jointly awarded to Hans G. Dehmelt and Wolfgang Paul "for the development of the ion trap technique."

1988 - Muon neutrino

A photograph of a caucasian man with curly white hair, wearing a striped sweater. His elbows are resting on a table and his hands are cupping his face. The camera is low, angling up toward the man. A blackboard with a matrix of variables is visible behind him.
Leon Lederman, American physicist who is noted for his research on quarks and leptons and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1988, along with Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger, for their research on neutrinos, sitting at desk with chalkboard behind, undated. Shot for Newsweek. Michael L Abramson/Getty Images

The 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Leon M. 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."

The 1987 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to J. Georg Bednorz and K. Alexander Muller "for their important breakthrough in the discovery of superconductivity in ceramic materials." More »

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1964 was divided, one half awarded to Charles Hard Townes, the other half jointly to Nicolay Gennadiyevich Basov and Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov "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". More »

1958 - Cherenkov Radiation

Soviet physicist Igor Tamm accepts his portion of 1958 Nobel Prize in Physics
Russian physicist Igor Yevgenyevich Tamm (1895 - 1971) receives his share of the Nobel Prize for Physics from King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden (1882 - 1973), in the Grand Auditorium of Stockholm's Concert Hall, 10th December 1958. Tamm shared the prize with Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov and Ilya Mikhailovich Frank. Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The 1958 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov, Il´ja Mikhailovich Frank and Igor Yevgenyevich Tamm "for the discovery and the interpretation of the Cherenkov effect".

1933 - Atomic Theory

 The 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Erwin Schrodinger and Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory."

1932 - Creation of Quantum Mechanics

Image of a dark-haired man in his early thirties, wearing a suit and tie.
circa 1933: German theoretical physicist, Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901 - 1976). He won the 1933 Nobel prize for physics. Keystone/Getty Images

 The 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Werner Heisenberg "for the creation of quantum mechanics, the application of which has, inter alia, led to the discovery of the allotropic forms of hydrogen."