Israeli inventions

The Nobel Prize and the Jews

The Nobel Prize and the Jews 724 482 Sarity Gervais

The Nobel Prize as most know, has been awarded yearly by a foundation that was started by Sweden&rsquos Alfred Nobel. He was the inventor of dynamite and 355 other patents. He was a self-made multi-millionaire that set aside the bulk of his vast estate to establish an annual award ceremony in his name. Individuals with the most exceptional and life-changing contributions in five different fields would be chosen. The fields were Physical Science, Medical Science and Physiology, Chemistry and Literature. Aside from those four fields, which required great intellect, he assigned a fifth one, to be awarded to a person or society that has rendered the greatest service to a peaceful international fraternity, by impacting the reduction of armies and war and furthering peace in the world.

The amazing contradiction of facts here is that the pacifist Nobel, made his millions by manufacturing armaments. He nevertheless refused to be remembered for finding ways to kill people faster, and thus his decision to leave behind a far better legacy.

The first annual Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm took place in 1901. Almost 70 years later, since 1969, an associated prize has been awarded in a sixth category, namely in Economics. This deviation from the stipulations of Mr. Nobel&rsquos will and testament caused an ongoing controversy. In 2001, Peter Nobel, Alfred&rsquos great great nephew, asked the Bank of Sweden to officially add a prize for Economics as a sixth category.

Since 1901 over 850 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to individuals from the different qualifying fields. Out of those, 194 have been of Jewish ancestry. This is rather intriguing, since Jews make up less than 0.2 percent of world population.

I&rsquoll give you a small sampling of some of Jewish Nobel Laureates.


Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1978, USA

For bringing Polish-Jewish culture in an impassioned narrative art, which touches and brings to life the universal human condition.

Boris Pasternak, 1958, Russia

For his achievement in the creation of lyrical poetry, describing the horrors of war in contemporary language. His writing was unique yet wass in keeping with the tradition of the Great Russian epic.

Nadine Gordimer, 1991, South Africa

A female write of magical epic expression, who brought her magnificent writing to benefit all of humanity.

Of course there is also Israel&rsquos Agnon, England&rsquos Harold Pinter and France&rsquos Patrick Modero.


Adolf von Baeyer, 1905, Germany

For the advancement of organic chemistry, his work on organic dyes and hydro aromatic compounds. He was the first Jew to win the Nobel Prize.

Ada Yonith, 2009, Israel

First Israeli woman to win the Nobel for her work on the mechanism underlying protein biosynthesis by Ribasomal crystallography.

Paul Berg, 1980, USA

For his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids, with particular attention to the recombinant DNA


Élie Metchikoff, 1908, Russia

For his work on immunity

Karl Landsteiner, 1930, Austria

For his discovery of human blood groups and types

Otto Loewi, 1936, Austria

For discoveries relating to chemical transmission of nerve impulses.

Ernest Borris Chain, 1945, United Kingdom

For his discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases, which were previously a death sentence.

Selman Waksman, 1952, USA

For his discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis.


Neils Bohr, 1932, Denmark

For his services in investigating the structure of the atoms and the energy emanating from them

Albert Einstein, 1921, Germany

For his work on Theoretical Physics and especially of his discovery of the photoelectric effect.

Max Born, 1954, United Kingdom

Quantum physics research and statistical interpretation of the wave function

François Englert, 2013, Belgium

For the discovery of a mechanism contributing to our understanding of mass of subatomic particles, which was recently confirmed thru the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle by CERN

Gustav Hertz and James Franck, 1925, Germany

For their discovery of the laws governing the impact of an electron upon an atom.

Hertz lent his name to the unit by which we measure electricity.


Elie Wiesel, 1986, USA

For his relentless work on behalf of the prevention of Holocaust anywhere, as Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust

Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, 1994, Israel

To honour a political act which called for great courage on both sides, and which opened up opportunities toward fraternity and peace in the Middle East

Menachem Begin, 1979, Israel

For the Camp David agreement, which brought about negotiated peace between Israel and Egypt.

Joseph Rotblat, 1995, Poland/England

For his efforts to diminish nuclear arms in international politics and in the long run to eliminate them completely


Franco Modigliani, 1985, Italy/USA

For his pioneering research of savings and the financial markets

Alvin Adler, 2012, USA

For the theory of stable allocation of assets and the practice of market design

Gary Becker, 1992

For extending the domain of microeconomics analysis.

His work touched on a wide range of human behaviour and interaction, including non-market behaviour.

To end, I picked some and was pained to leave most out of the list. Nobel Prize awards genius and humanity for the past 115 years and if it was possible I&rsquod mention each person and the amazing contributions they brought to the world.