The Nobel Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in the world, recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to their field. Over the years, there have been several young Nobel laureates who have achieved this remarkable feat at a very early age.
From 1901 to 2023, 975 Nobel Laureates have come out, which consists of 25 organizations and 950 individuals. Let’s take a look who among them became a Nobel laureate at the youngest age.
The 10 Youngest Nobel Laureates:
Discover the inspiring stories of the top 10 youngest Nobel laureates in history, including Malala Yousafzai, William Lawrence Bragg, Werner Heisenberg, and Tawakkol Karman.
From advocating for girls’ education to making ground-breaking discoveries in science, these individuals have made significant contributions to their respective fields at a very early age. Learn about their remarkable achievements and how they continue to inspire future generations.
10. Tawakkol Karman
The Yemeni journalist and politician Tawakkol Karman won Nobel Peace Prize in the year 2011. At the time of her win, she was 32 years old. She won the award “for her non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”.
She is the first Yemeni and the first Arab woman to win a Nobel Prize. She leads the group “Women Journalists Without Chains,” which she co-founded in 2005.
9. Mairead Corrigan
Mairead Maguire won the Nobel Peace Prize in the year 1976 at the age of 32 years. The 70 year old peace activist from Northern Ireland, shared the award with Betty Williams (33), who herself was another young Nobel laureate “for being the Founder(s) of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement (later renamed Community of Peace People)”. Corrigan also won Norwegian People’s Peace Prize, Pacem in Terris and Carl von Ossietzky Medal.
8. Frederick G. Banting
Canadian medical scientist, doctor, painter won the Nobel Physiology or Medicine Prize in the year 1923“ for the discovery of insulin”. He won the award at the age of 32 years. He is also credited for being the first person to first person that used insulin on humans. Till date, he remains the youngest Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. In 2004, Frederick Banting was voted fourth place on The Greatest Canadian.
7. Rudolf Mössbauer
German physicist Rudolf Mössbauer won the Nobel Physics Prize in the year 1961 at the age of 32 “for his researches concerning the resonance absorption of gamma radiation and his discovery in this connection of the effect which bears his name”. He also won Elliott Cresson Medal and Lomonosov Gold Medal during his lifetime. His discovery served the basis for Mössbauer spectroscopy.
6. Tsung-Dao Lee
Chinese-born American physicist, Tsung-Dao Lee won the Nobel Physics Prize in the year 1957 at the age of 31 years. “for their penetrating investigation of the so-called parity laws which has led to important discoveries regarding the elementary particles”.
He shared the prize with fellow Chinese-American Chen Ning Yang, both of whom were the first Chinese citizens to win a Nobel Prize. The same year, Tsung-Dao Lee won the Albert Einstein Award. Besides, he has been a member of National Academy of Sciences, Academia Sinica, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, etc..
5. Carl D. Anderson
American physicist Carl D. Anderson was the winner of Nobel Physics Prize in the year 1936. At the time of his win, he was just 31 years old. He won the prize “for his discovery of the positron”. The following year, he won the Elliott Cresson Medal. He also made significant contributions towards the discovery of muon.
4. Paul A.M. Dirac
Paul A.M. Dirac won the 1933 Nobel Physics Prize at the age of 31 years “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory”. The English theoretical physicist is considered one of the key figures whose work in the field of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics is considered a landmark.
In his lifetime, he served as a professor of many universities teaching students, be it in University of Cambridge or University of Miami or Florida State University.
3. Werner Heisenberg
At the age of 31, German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg won the Nobel Physics Prize “for the creation of quantum mechanics, the application of which has, inter alia, led to the discovery of the allotropic forms of hydrogen”. He was the solo winner of the prize in the year 1932. He is one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics.
He has been given honorary doctorates from the University of Bruxelles, the Technological University of Karlsruhe, and the University of Budapest. He also made important contributions to the theories of the hydrodynamics of turbulent flows, the atomic nucleus, ferromagnetism, cosmic rays, and subatomic particles,
2. Lawrence Bragg
In 1915, Lawrence Bragg became the youngest person to win a Nobel Physics Prize, at the age of 25 “For his services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays”, an important step in the development of X-ray crystallography”. This record of him would be unbroken for the next 99 years. Presently, he is the second youngest person to be a Nobel laureate.
The Australian-born British physicist and X-ray crystallographer, throughout his lifetime, also won a number of other awards including Matteucci Medal, Copley Medal , Royal Medal , etc.. Till date, he remains the youngest Nobel Laureate in Physics.
1. Malala Yousafzai
In 2014, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel laureate when she won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17, “for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”. The Pakistani activist for female education, was also one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” in the year 2013.
The top 10 youngest Nobel laureates of all time include Malala Yousafzai, who won the Peace Prize at the age of 17 for her advocacy work promoting girls’ education; William Lawrence Bragg and his father, William Henry Bragg, who shared the Physics Prize in 1915 at the ages of 25 and 45 respectively; Werner Heisenberg, who won the Physics Prize in 1932 at the age of 31; and Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, who won the Chemistry Prize in 1964 at the age of 44.
Other notable young Nobel laureates include Frederick G. Banting, who won the Medicine Prize at the age of 32 for his discovery of insulin; Albert Schweitzer, who won the Peace Prize at the age of 38 for his humanitarian work; and Tawakkol Karman, who won the Peace Prize at the age of 32 for her activism in Yemen. These young Nobel laureates have not only made significant contributions to their fields, but also serve as inspirations to the next generation of scientists, activists, and leaders.