Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine


October 17, 2021

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (Swedish Nobelpriset i fysiologi eller medicin) - an award awarded annually by the Karolinska Institute for exceptional scientific achievements in various fields of physiology or medicine. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established in his will by Alfred Nobel (d. 1896). As he wrote in his will, the Nobel Foundation supervises the award, and it is awarded by an assembly selected by the Karolinska Institute. Colloquially referred to as the "Nobel Prize in Medicine," in fact, it was precisely described by the Nobel Prize in his will as a prize in physiology or medicine. For this reason, it can be granted in any of the specific areas of both of these sciences. The first laureate of the award was Emil Adolf von Behring in 1901.

Nomination and selection of candidates

Currently, the Nobel Prize may be awarded for two different works, but the total number of awarded persons may not exceed three. Until 1968 the regulations allowed the award to be given to more people, but this never happened in practice. The winners of the award are selected by the Nobel Assembly of the Karolinska Institute, which includes 50 professors of this institution. The executive body of the Assembly is the Nobel Committee, which consists of five members elected by the Assembly. The nomination and selection of candidates begins in September of the year preceding the award, by sending invitations by the Committee to nominate approximately 3,000 professors from various research institutions worldwide, previous award winners and members of the Assembly. Nobody can nominate himself. The nomination deadline expires at the end of January of the following year, and in February the Committee is reducing the number of nominees. Then, from March to May, the opinions of selected experts are consulted in order to submit a written report to the Assembly with the recommended candidates in September. Recommendations are discussed at two consecutive meetings of the Assembly, which in October elect the final laureates by majority vote. In the same month, the names of the winners are announced. The names of the nominees and nominees, as well as the opinions and conduct of the elections, remain secret (the confidentiality clause applies to both public and private contacts) for the next 50 years.


Each winner receives a medal, a diploma and a cash prize, the amount of which varies from year to year. In 1901 von Behring received 150,782 Swedish kroner (SEK). In 2014, an award of SEK 8,000,000 was awarded. The prize is officially presented on December 10 in Stockholm, on the anniversary of the death of the Nobel Prize. In 1939, one of the winners, the German Gerhard Domagk, did not get permission from his government to receive the award. He received the medal and diploma, but not a cash prize, in his later years.


By 2021, 226 people had been awarded 112 Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine. The award was not granted in nine years: 1915–1918, 1921, 1925, 1940–1942. By 2021, twelve women were awarded the award. The youngest recipient of the award was Frederick Banting, 32 (in 1923), and the oldest, 87 years old, Peyton Rous (in 1966). In 1947, the award was jointly awarded to Gerty and Carl Cori, and in 2014 to May-Britt and Edvard Moser.




All Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine (ang.). Nobel Foundation. [accessed on 2009-10-07]. Nobel Prize winners by category (physiology or medicine) (ang.). Encyclopædia Britannica. [accessed on 2009-10-07].

External Links

Official website of the Nobel Foundation

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