20 Canadian Nobel Laureates

Image credit: 
University of Chicago

The Nobel Prizes were established in 1895 using a bequest from the Swedish inventor, Alfred Nobel. The prizes are awarded annually in several areas, including Economics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine. Although many of Canada's Nobel Prize laureates spent the bulk of their career elsewhere, we've compiled a list of people with a strong connection to Canada who were awarded Nobel Prizes in various disciplines.

1. Ernest Rutherford

Rutherford (above), an early nuclear physicist, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908 for his work on radioactivity. Rutherford was born in New Zealand and died in England, but performed his prize-winning research at McGill University in Montreal.

2. Sir Frederick Banting

Wikimedia Commons

Banting, a doctor from Ontario, was one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1923 for discovering insulin.

3. William Francis Giauque

Courtesy of the University of California — Berkeley

Giauque won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1949 for his research into the properties of matter at very cold temperatures. Although he was born in Ontario, his parents were American and he spent most of his career at U.C. Berkeley.

4. Lester Pearson

Wikimedia Commons

Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his work that contributed to the resolution of the Suez Canal Crisis. He later became the Prime Minister of Canada.

5. Charles Huggins

Huggins was an oncologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1966 for his research on the use of hormones to control cancer. He was born in Canada, but spent his career at the University of Chicago.

6. Gerhard Herzberg

Herzberg won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1971 for his work on free radicals. He was born in Germany, but immigrated to Canada as a young man and lived there for several decades.

7. Saul Bellow

Wikimedia Commons

Bellow won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976. He was born in Quebec of Russian parents, but moved to the United States as a child. During the Great Depression, Bellow was employed by the Federal Writers Project, part of the New Deal strategy of giving jobs to unemployed Americans.

8. David Hubel

Hubel, a neurobiologist, was co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1981 for his work on the visual cortex. He grew up and studied in Canada, but spent his career at Harvard University.

9. Henry Taube

Taube was also born in Canada but spent his career at American universities, including Cornell, the University of Chicago, and Stanford. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1983 for his work in inorganic chemistry.

10. John Polanyi

Polanyi won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in the field of chemical kinetics. According to Wikipedia, Polanyi has been awarded a whopping 25 honorary degrees during his career.

11. Sidney Altman

Altman is from Montreal but has been teaching at Yale since 1971. He and one of his colleagues won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989 for their work on the RNA molecule.

12. Richard Taylor

Taylor is from the excellently-named town of Medicine Hat in Alberta. He and two colleagues won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1990 for their work in particle physics.

13. Rudolph Marcus

Wikimedia Commons

Marcus won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on electron transfer. He's from Montreal originally but has spent most of his career in the United States. A conference celebrating his 90th birthday will be held in Singapore in July.

14. Michael Smith

Smith was a British-born chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993 for his work on site-directed mutagenesis, which has to do with genetic modification. He spent most of his career in British Columbia.

15. Bertram Brockhouse

Wikimedia Commons

Brockhouse and an American colleague won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1994 for their work in developing neutron scattering techniques. He taught at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, for more than 20 years.

16. William Vickrey

Vickrey, an economics professor at Columbia University who was born in Victoria, BC, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1996 along with James Mirrlees. Vickrey died three days after the prize was announced.

17. Myron Scholes

Wikimedia Commons

Financial economist Myron Scholes was born in Ontario but is now a professor emeritus at Stanford. He and his colleague, Robert Merton, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1997 for developing a technique used to calculate the value of derivatives.

18. Robert Mundell

Mundell was also born in Ontario, and also won the Nobel Prize in Economics. He received the award in 1999 for his work on optimum currency areas, an economic theory that models the ideal geographic reach of a specific currency. Mundell's work helped pave the way for the creation of the euro.

19. Willard Boyle

Wikimedia Commons

Boyle of Nova Scotia won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009, along with George E. Smith, for inventing a device that is integral to digital imaging. Boyle was homeschooled until the age of 14.

20. Ralph Steinman

Steinman was born in Montreal but died in Manhattan. He was an immunologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2011 for discovering the dendritic cell, which is an important part of the immune system. Steinman died of pancreatic cancer three days before the prize was announced.

Sources: Wikipedia.org and Nobelprize.org

More from mental_floss...

June 30, 2013 - 2:00pm
submit to reddit