Nobel Prizes

Patrons of the sciences once offered cash prizes, exotic pets and even islands for world-changing discoveries. Here, Louis XIV surveys the members of the Royal Academy of Sciences in 1667.

For Your Contributions to Science, I Humbly Bequeath You This Pet Moose

A history of motivating scientific endeavor through cash prizes, islands and exotic pets

The Nobel Prize, named after the repentant creator of dynamite, has been awarded nearly every year since 1901.

What Does It Take to Win a Nobel Prize? Four Winners, in Their Own Words

Some answers: Messiness, ignorance and puzzles

Bob Dylan by John Cohen, 1962

Is Bob Dylan a Poet?

As the enigmatic singer, songwriter and troubadour takes the Nobel Prize in literature, one scholar ponders what his work is all about

John Cohen photographs a young Bob Dylan playing his guitar and harmonica in New York City in 1962.

Five Things to Know About Bob Dylan

When it comes to awards, the times are a' changin'—and now the iconic musician is a Nobel laureate

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Colombian President Who Got Guerillas to Come to the Table

As Colombia faces an uncertain future, the Nobel Committee recognizes its president who has worked to broker peace

Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa

Nobel Prize in Chemistry Awarded for Big Advancements in Ultra-Tiny Machines

The winning trio created the building blocks of nanomachines that have the potential to revolutionize many fields of science and industry

Bagels always have just one hole, making them useful for illustrating one of topology's core concepts. Also, they are delicious.

Nobel Physics Prize Goes to Exploration of Exotic Matter, Explained in Bagels

Winners probed superconductors and superfluids, launching the ongoing hunt for strange phases of matter

Yoshinori Osumi, the 2016 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Japanese Scientist Wins Nobel Prize for Discovering How Cells Cannibalize Worn Out Parts

Like stripping old engine parts away

Hello, I am goat.

What Living Like Goats and Badgers Can Teach Us About Ourselves

Two Englishmen won the Ig Nobel Prize for eating grass, earthworms and worse in the name of science

How Deadly Explosives Inspired the Nobel Peace Prize

Alfred Nobel's invention of dynamite was a terrifying addition to mankind's arsenal of destruction. Ironically, it also spawned the Nobel Peace Prize

5 Things to Know About Svetlana Alexievich, Winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature

The Belarusian journalist is best known for her tragic investigations of war and disaster in eastern Europe

How Nature Inspired the Medicine Nobel Prize Winners to Fight Parasites

Their discoveries saved the lives of millions of people around the world

A relative unknown, Werner Forssmann won the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for inventing the cardiac catheter. Some of his equally qualified peers have not been as fortunate.

How Not to Win a Nobel Prize

A search through the Nobel archives shows how the history of the famous prize is filled with near misses and flukes


Norwegian Nobel Winners Release Their Inner Avant-Garde Musicians

Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine repurposed a Norse folk tune for a science lecture

James Watson Will Be the First Nobel Laureate to Sell His Medallion

But his racist comments have created a surge of pushback

One of the original Regency TR-1 models resides in the Smithsonian collections.

How the Transistor Radio with Music for Your Pocket Fueled a Teenage Social Revolution

In a burst of post World War II innovation, the Regency TR-1 transistor radio became the new "It" gift for the holiday season

Your Cheat Sheet to the 2014 Nobel Prizes

Just enough to catch up

The Nobel Prize in Physics for the Discovery of Neutrons Was Auctioned Off This Week

The prize fetched more than Faulkner's Nobel, but less than Crick's

Aung San Suu Kyi, photographed in June 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's Revolutionary Leader

The Nobel Peace Prize winner talks about the secret weapon in her decades of struggle—the power of Buddhism


Helen Gurley Brown, the World Trade Center and Nobel Prizes...

A look back at the world in Smithsonian Magazine's first year

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