The Nobel Prizes, established at the behest of Alfred Nobel in 1895, celebrate outstanding contributions for humanity in the fields of chemistry, economics, literature, peace, physics, and physiology or medicine. Awarded annually by Swedish and Norwegian organisations and committees, they allow us to take stock of the previous year’s advances – and celebrate some amazing achievements.
Oxford Scholarship Online is proud to be home to many Nobel Prize winners past and present. To celebrate their accomplishments, we’ve compiled chapters and articles written by and related to, the 2016 winners. Explore the chapters below to better understand the laureates and their works. They are freely available to read, for a limited time.
Nobel Prize in Economics
The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded jointly to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström for their “contributions to contract theory.” The committee went on to highlight how modern economies are held together by innumerable contracts, and how Hart and Holmström’s theoretical tools are invaluable to the understanding of real-life contracts and institutions.
Oliver Hart has written a book with Oxford University Press, and Holmström has also contributed various chapters and articles. Discover their pioneering economic theory:
- Oliver Hart, 'Introduction' in Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure >>
- Bengt Holmström, 'Grossman-Hart (1986) as a Theory of Markets' >>
- Josh Lerner, 'Oliver Hart's Contributions to the Understanding of Strategic Alliances and Technology Licensing' >>
Nobel Peace Prize
The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, arguably the most well-known and anticipated of the accolades, was awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, for his “resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people.”
For more on the conflict between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, take a look at the following chapters:
- Jennifer Morrison Taw, 'The Role of the Police in the Colombian Insurgency' >>
- Susan C. Mapp, 'Child Soldiers' >>
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in physics was jointly awarded to David J. Thouless and F. Duncan M. Haldane, as well as J. Michael Kosterlitz, for their “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.” To put this another way, their discoveries helped reveal an extraordinary scientific world, where matter can take on increasingly strange and counter-intuitive states.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, as well as Bernard L. Feringa. This was for the “design and synthesis of molecular machines.” These laureates had developed incredibly small systems - molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added.
Still need a bit of background? The following chapters explore this miniscule world...
- Vinod K. Wadhawan, 'Nanostructures' >>
- Baltazar D. Aguda, 'From molecules to a living cell' >>
- Launay and Vergaguer, 'Electrons in Molecules: Basic concepts' >>
Nobel Prize in Medicine
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Oshumi, for his “discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy.” Autophagy is a fundamental process for degrading and recycling components of cells, and Oshumi’s discoveries led to an entirely new way of understanding how cells recycle their content.
For more information on cell death and its critical role in development, read Sandra Mooney's key chapter:
Nobel Prize in Literature
The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". Many of Dylan’s most celebrated and best-known works date from the 1960s, when his songs dealt with issues of social unrest. Early songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-war movements, whilst later hits such as "Like a Rolling Stone" expanded the artistic expression of popular music.
- Thomas O Beebee, 'The Old, Millennial America: Bob Dylan and the Traditions' >>
- Daniel Karlin, 'Columbia Recording Artist Bob Dylan' >>
Want to test your knowledge? Enter our Nobel Prize Quiz, and you could be in with a chance of winning an iPod shuffle™ or your selection of Oxford University Press books!