Nobelpreis for physiology or medicine

of the Nobelpreis for physiology or medicine (Swedish: Nobelpriset i fysiologi more eller medicin) was donated by Sweden Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), which had come by the invention of the dynamite to large wealth. The price is lent annually since 1901 of the Nobelversammlung of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm at persons, whose contributions brought the largest use to mankind to the research.

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of first winners was the German Emil von Behring, further famous winners was Robert cook, Otto Loewi and the discoverers of the DNA structure James Watson and Francis Crick.

The price was lent from 1901 to 2005 in altogether 96 years to 184 winners, sieves of it at women. He can be assigned on up to 3 persons at the same time. From 1915 to 1918, in the years 1921 as well as 1925 and from 1940 to 1942 no award took place, prize money moved back into the Fundus.

See also: List of the Nobelpreisträger for physiology or medicine

award criteria

„physiology and medicine “

the price is called often shortened Medizinnobelpreis. This is not completely correct, because Alfred Nobels 1895 laid down last will includes expressly the physiology. The physiology covered at that time however a by far larger range than the medical physiology, areas, which were added today above all to biology, in addition, chemistry or physics. So the Karolinska Institutet, had the Swedish medical university in the proximity of Stockholm always a large clearance in the selection of the applicants. The price 1973 for Konrad Lorenz e.g. belongs. into the area of biology (behavior research).

„the largest use for mankind “

after the will of Alfred Nobel should be lent the price at that, which furnished the largest use for mankind in the last year with its discovery. The word discovery prefers the basic fan, there in the clinical medicine the progress usually not as sudden realization thrust, in the medicine always but takes place in very small steps. And indeed took place by far more awards of the prize at researchers in the Immunologie, the genetics or neuro biology than to in pharmacy, the diagnosis or even the practical therapy.

Which discovery furnished the largest use for mankind, is still the subject of many discussions. The development of the DDT by Swiss chemist and Nobelpreisträger 1948 Paul Hermann Mueller is often criticized from the today's point of view. The use of DDT is meanwhile forbidden because of its Giftigkeit for humans and animal, yet could by its application according to estimations of the WHO approx. 25 million human life to be saved. That today admitted extent of the Giftigkeit was conscious neither to the inventor nor the Nobelversammlung to the time of the award of the prize.


a further Handicap is the additive in the last year in Nobels will. Generally it lasts some time, until scientific realizations are published; it lasts a further time, until these realizations are taken up and accepted by the professional world: Sometimes this time interval amounts to several decades. Thus Oswald received T. Avery never a Nobelpreis, although its realization that the DNA of the carriers of the heiress formation is, with security was a century realization. It took only a great many years to the science this realization accepted. Avery had meanwhile deceased and posthum may be nominated nobody more for the Nobelpreis.



Alfred Nobel had specified in its last will that the Karolinska Institutet assigns the price in physiology or medicine. 1901 were procured the selection from the Nominationen by all 19 professors of the medical faculty. They selected from its row a Nobelkomitee with the president of the Karolinska as presiding. 1918 were selected professor Göran Liljestrand to the secretary of the Nobelkomitees, which kept this post 42 years long.

1977 were furnished the Nobelversammlung at Karolini Institut, because the number of the lecturers had strongly risen in the meantime. A law change in Sweden, which made all papers of state institutions public, besides the secrecy of the selection process would have threatened. The Nobelversammlung is completely independently of the state, it auschliesslich of the Nobelstiftung is financed, although all 50 members are professors of the Karolinska. With 65 they into the retirement, new members go by the meeting are selected.

The Nobelkomitee is selected of the Nobelversammlung and consists of 5 members and a managing director. Each member can be selected twice for the duration by three years, the managing director three times for the duration of 4 years. In order to ensure the continuity of the work, each year only one part of the members is selected, one of the members becomes again for three years of chairmen.

As soon as the nominating were examined by the committee, Ad-hoc a committee with 10 members is determined, that evaluate the nominating for the duration of 9 months. The members of the Ad-hoc-committee do not have to be members of the Nobelversammlung.


committee and meeting hold several meetings in the course of the yearly, so that the meeting at the time of the tuning about the selection process and scientific earnings/services of the candidates are well informed. The decision of the Nobelversammlung effected in the first half of October, a simple majority is sufficient.

The schedule remained since 1901 the same: In the September of the previous year 2,500 to 3,000 scientists by medical faculties outside of Scandinavia after a rotary system is selected and asked for their candidate suggestions for the next year.

right to nominate

all carriers of the Nobelpreises for physiology or medicine and all professors of the medicine in Scandinavian countries have a regular nominating right. The last period for nominating is the 31. January. In the spring there is a common meeting with the Nobelkomitee for chemistry, in order to avoid that a winner receives two prices.


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