2001 Nobel Prize Winners

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
  • Peace: United Nations and Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the UN, were cited “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.”
  • Literature: Sir V. S. Naipaul (UK) “for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories.” Naipaul explores alienation and the hardships of postcolonial countries in his works of fiction, nonfiction, and the occasional blend of the two.
  • Physics: Wolfgang Ketterle (Germany), Eric A. Cornell, and Carl E. Wieman (both U.S.) “for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates.” In discovering the Bose-Einstein condensate, a new state of matter, the laureates have explained “the secrets of the microworld of quantum physics.”
  • Chemistry: One-half jointly to William S. Knowles (U.S.) and Ryoji Noyori (Japan) “for their work on chirally catalyzed hydrogenation reactions,” and one-half to K. Barry Sharpless (U.S.) “for his work on chirally catalyzed oxidation reactions.” They “have opened up a new field of research in which it is possible to synthesize molecules and material with new properties.”
  • Medicine: Leland H. Hartwell (U.S.), R. Timothy Hunt, and Paul M. Nurse (both UK) for their discoveries of “key regulators of the cell cycle.” Their discoveries concerning control of the cell cycle “may in the long term open new possibilities for cancer treatment.”
  • Economics: George A. Akerlof, A. Michael Spence, and Joseph E. Stiglitz (all U.S.) for “their analyses of markets with asymmetric information.” “The laureates' contributions form the core of modern information economics.”

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