1998 Nobel Prize Winners

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
  • Peace: John Hume and David Trimble (both Northern Ireland), whose efforts made possible Northern Ireland's Good Friday peace accord in 1998 and have led to political progress in a deep-rooted conflict. Hume is the leader of the Catholic Social Democratic and Labor Party, and Trimble heads the predominant Protestant Ulster Unionist Party.
  • Literature: José Saramago (Portugal), who, according to the committee, “with parables sustained by imagination, compassion, and irony, continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality.” The first Portuguese writer to win the Nobel, his novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.
  • Physics: Robert B. Laughlin (U.S.), Horst L. Störmer (Germany), and Daniel C. Tsui (U.S.), “for their discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations.” The findings of the three scientists will have implications on our understanding of the destruction of Earth's ozone layer.
  • Chemistry: Walter Kohn (U.S.) and John A. Pople (U.K.) for their developments in the study of the properties of molecules and the chemical processes in which they are involved. Kohn's density-functional theory simplifies the mathematical explanation of the bonding between atoms within molecules, making it possible for scientists to study large, complex molecules. Pople was cited for his development of computer techniques that make it possible to create models of chemical reactions that cannot otherwise be recreated in the laboratory.
  • Medicine: Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro, and Ferid Murad (all U.S.) for discovering that nitric oxide acts as a signal in the cardiovascular system. Their findings are relevant to the function of the recently popular anti-impotence drug Viagra, and will also have implications for the treatment of heart disease, shock, and other medical conditions.
  • Economics: Amartya Sen (India), “for his contributions to welfare economics.” His studies, including an examination of the Bangladesh famine of 1974, have contributed to the understanding of how complex economic factors relate to famine and poverty. The committee credited him for “restoring an ethical dimension to the discussion of vital economic problems.”

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