2002 Nobel Prize Winners

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
  • Peace: Jimmy Carter, former president of the United States, was cited for “his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”
  • Literature: Imre Kertész (Hungary) for “writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history.” Kertész often draws on his experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz in his works, which explore “the possibility of continuing to live and think as an individual in an era in which the subjection of human beings to social forces has become increasingly complete.”
  • Physics: One-half jointly to Raymond Davis, Jr. (U.S.) and Masatoshi Koshiba (Japan) for “pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos,” and one-half to Riccardo Giacconi (U.S.) for “pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which have led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources.” The laureates have used cosmic particles, the smallest components of the universe, to “increase our understanding of the very largest: the Sun, stars, galaxies, and supernovae.”
  • Chemistry: One-half jointly to John B. Fenn (U.S.) and Koichi Tanaka (Japan) for “their development of soft desorption ionization methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules,” and one-half to Kurt Wüthrich (Switzerland) for “his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution.” The work of the laureates has helped researchers to quickly determine the composition of biological macromolecules, such as proteins, and understand their function in the cell. “The methods have revolutionized the development of new pharmaceuticals.”
  • Medicine: Sydney Brenner (UK), H. Robert Horvitz (U.S.), and John E. Sulston (UK) for “their discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death.” The laureates have “have identified key genes regulating organ development and programmed cell death and have shown that corresponding genes exist in higher species, including man.”
  • Economics: Daniel Kahneman (U.S.) for “having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty,” and Vernon L. Smith (U.S.) for “having established laboratory experiments as a tool in empirical economic analysis, especially in the study of alternative market mechanisms.”

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