Nobel Prize: A Prize for Changing the World

October 11, 2016

What do molecules, math, self-destroying cells, an agreement, contracts, and songs have in common? Yes, they’re all cool, but these things are also the reasons why 11 people won the Nobel Prize this year. The Nobel Prize is one of the highest honors in the world and it is only awarded to a very select handful of people each year in the areas of chemistry, physics, medicine, peace, economics, and literature. So, what made this year’s winners Nobel Prize winners?

NOBEL PRIZE IN MEDICINE: Yoshinoro Ohsumi, the winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine, discovered the process of our “body’s internal recycling program” or how cells in our body breakdown and then the useful parts are used to generate new cells. This recycling process will help prevent and treat diseases.

NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE: Bob Dylan’s a singer, songwriter, musician, and now a Nobel Prize winner. He was chosen as this year’s recipient for his work in telling stories about life and the history of the world through songs.

NOBEL PRIZE IN ECONOMIC SCIENCES: Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström were awarded the prize for their studies in contracts (or agreements: I get this, you get that) and the impact of their work on the different types of business decisions that companies often make.

NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS: David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz, the winners of the Nobel Prize in physics, came up with a theory of how math can explain strange behaviors like why a tornado keeps shifting based on temperature and pressure.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia and the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, helped to build a peace agreement to end a 52 year civil war in his country. It was signed in late September by him and the top commander of the rebel army, but when he asked the people of Colombia to vote on whether they approved of the agreement, they voted no.

NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY: Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Fearing won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for designing tiny machines called molecular machines (we’re talking machines that you can only see with a really powerful microscope!) that could one day help find diseases in a person’s body and possibly even fight them.