Nobel prize 2021: full list of named winners - including David MacMillan and David Julius - and what they win

Prizes for Medicine, Chemistry and Physics have already been awarded by the Nobel committee

This year’s Nobel Peace Prizes are pit on show at the laboratory of prize founder Alfred Nobel (Picture: Getty Images)

Nobel Prize season has begun, with winners across the globe recognised for their unrivalled contributions to six categories across the sciences, literature and peace.

Between 1901 and 2020, the Nobel Prizes and the prize in economic sciences have been awarded 603 times. Only a handful of individuals have received a prize more than once.

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This week, the Nobel committees in Sweden and Norway reveal the names of those who will receive a prize.

When are the winners announced?

Each of the six prizes will be announced across six days, with an announcement made by the committee in Stockholm and Oslo at between 5.30 am and 7.00 am Eastern time.

The announcements began on Monday, 4 October and continue until Friday, the final award will be announced on Monday, October 11.

The award for literature will be announced on Thursday.

The award for peace work will be announced on Friday.

The award for economic science will be announced on Monday, Oct. 11.

Who are this year’s winners?

So far, awards for Physiology or Medicine; Physics and Chemistry have been announced.

Physiology or Medicine

The winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine are David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian jointly, “for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch.”

Their breakthrough discoveries launched intense research activities which have enabled a rapid increase in science’s understanding of how our nervous system senses heat, cold, and mechanical stimuli.

Dr. Julius is a professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco and Dr. Patapoutian is a molecular biologist and neuroscientist at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California.


The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded on Tuesday, to three scientists who have provided groundbreaking insight into how humans impact climate change.

Syukuro Manabe of Princeton University, Klaus Hasselmann of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, and Giorgio Parisi of the Sapienza University of Rome are said to have “laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how humanity influences it.”


The Prize for Chemistry was awarded to Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan on Wednesday.

The pair have developed a new tool to build molecules, work that has prompted advances in pharmaceutical research and lessened negative environmental damage caused by chemistry.

What are the prize categories?

Six Nobel Prizes are awarded every year, awarded to either specific people or an entire organisation.

Prizes are given for physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry, economic science, literature and peace work.

The peace prize usually generates the most media attention, given its acknowledgement of having “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

Past winners of the peace prize include Martin Luther King, Jr., Theodore Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama.

Other famous winners of Nobel prizes include Marie and Pierre Currie - who together made advances in cancer treatment through discovering the elements polonium and radium.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai displays her medal and diploma during the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony in 2014

Pakistani girl’s education activist Malala Yousafzai won the peace prize in 2014 and Mother Teresa was awarded hers in 1979.

Who can nominate?

Each year, thousands of professionals  can submit nominations. Hundreds of nominations are submitted per year.

Those who can nominate range from Heads of state and politicians serving at a national level to university professors and directors of foreign policy institutes.

Past Nobel Prize recipients and members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are also among those deemed qualified to submit a nomination for the prize.

What do the winners receive?

Nobel Prize laureates will receive a Nobel Prize diploma, a Nobel Prize medal and a document detailing the Nobel Prize amount, which last year rose to 10 million Swedish krona, or about $1.1 million in current exchange rates.

Nobel Week 2021 takes place on 6–12 December in Stockholm and Oslo. This year’s festivities will be a mixture of digital and physical events. Many of the events will be streamed and possible to follow online.

The winners will receive their prize during the Nobel Prize Week.