Who are the 2023 Nobel Prize winners so far?

This year’s laureates have opened doors for disease control, technological advancements and subversive literature.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 file photo a Nobel medal is held up during a ceremony in New York. The Nobel Prize for Chemistry will be announced on Wednesday Oct. 6, 2021. (Angela Weiss/Pool Photo via AP, File)
The Nobel Prizes were created by Alfred Nobel, a wealthy 19th-century businessman, inventor and chemist from Sweden [File: Angela Weiss/AP]

This week marks the announcement of Nobel Prizes for 2023. The six prizes recognise individuals and groups for their contributions to particular fields.

Here is some information about this year’s winners and why they won:

Nobel Prize in medicine: Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman

The US-based duo won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine on Monday for research that led directly to the first mRNA vaccines to fight COVID-19.

The Hungarian-born Kariko and American Weissman conducted research at the University of Pennsylvania on modifying mRNA. They started looking into this in the late 1990s and published a key finding in 2005. According to the awarding body, the Karolinska Institute, this research enabled the development of COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna.

Nobel Prize in physics: Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier

(L-R) US-based physicist Pierre Agostini, Hungarian-Austrian physicist and French physicist Anne L’Huillier appear on the screen as member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics Eva Olsson, Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Member of the Nobel Committee For Physics speak to the media during the announcement of the winners of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics at Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on October 3, 2023.
From left, Agostini of The Ohio State University in the United States, Krausz of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany, and L’Huillier of Lund University in Sweden [Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP]

The trio won the prize in physics on Tuesday for conducting experiments that produced pulses of light so short that they were measured in attoseconds, or one-billionth of one-billionth of a second. Their research can help provide images from inside atoms and molecules.

The breakthrough allows, for example, for blood samples to be examined with light flashes to detect any changes, opening the possibility of early detection of diseases such as lung cancer.

L’Huillier is only the fifth woman to win a Nobel in physics.

Nobel Prize in chemistry: Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Alexei Ekimov

Pictures of American chemists Moungi Bawendi and Louis Brus and Russian physicist Alexei Ekimov appear on a screen during the announcement of the winners of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry in Stockholm, Sweden
Pictures of American chemists Moungi Bawendi and Louis Brus and Russian physicist Alexei Ekimov appear on a screen during the announcement of the winners of the 2023 Nobel Prize in chemistry in Stockholm, Sweden [Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP]

The trio won the award in chemistry on Wednesday for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots. Quantum dots are particles that are so small that their properties are determined by quantum phenomena.

Researchers believe that this technology can pave the way for the development of flexible electronics, tiny sensors, thinner solar cells and encrypted quantum communication.

In a very unusual turn of events, Swedish media reported the names of the winners before the prize was announced.

Nobel Prize in literature: Jon Fosse

Jon Fosse
Fosse’s win, on the one hand, marks significant recognition of a non-Anglophone author, but on the other, Fosse being another Northern European Nobel winner invites criticism for a lack of inclusivity. [File: David Cliff/AP]

The prize in literature was awarded to the Norwegian author and dramatist John Fosse on Thursday.

Fosse was recognised by the Swedish Academy “for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable”.

Fosse, 64, has written about 40 plays as well as novels, short stories, children’s books, poetry and essays. His work has been translated into about 50 languages.

Nobel Peace Prize: Narges Mohammadi

Narges Mohammadi.
After the Mahsa Amini protests in Iran, Mohammadi has continued to report her experience of abuse as a woman in Evin Prison. [Photo by Narges Mohammadi Foundation/AFP]

The Iranian rights activist won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. She was chosen from 351 nominees.

Mohammadi, who has been has served multiple prison sentences for the past two decades, is best known for her fight for freedom and against oppression of Iranian women.

“Woman, life, freedom,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. She recited the slogan that is now associated with the women’s movement in Iran as she announced Mohammadi as the winner.

One Nobel remains. The prize for economics will be announced on Monday.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies