The Nobel Prizes are the highest honors in science – and yet not all luminaries have received this coveted prize. Those missing range from Dimitri Mendeleev to Ludwig Boltzmann, Edwin Hubble and Lise Meitner to Stephen Hawking. But why did they get nothing?
Outstanding scientific achievements in physics, chemistry and medicine have been rewarded with the Nobel Prizes since 1901 – an award donated by Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. He was concerned with highlighting and promoting achievements of great importance to humanity. In fact, the long list of Nobel Prize winners includes a whole series of famous names – scientists whose findings continue to shape our world view today.
It is all the more striking that some of the biggest names in science are missing from this list. Starting with the inventor of the big bang and the creator of the periodic table of the elements to the discoverer of archaea or the “master” of black holes. But why have these heroes of science never received a Nobel Prize?