Indian Nobel Laureates - Nobel Prize Winners in India


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Science and Technology

1 min read

Prelims: General Science

Mains: Achievements of Indians in science and technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

The Nobel Prize is the most prestigious award and is a recognition of individuals who make significant contributions to humankind in various fields. It was founded in 1895 by the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel, who is most famous for the invention of dynamite. The first such prizes were given in 1901 and since then, hundreds of individuals and a few organisations have attained this distinguished award.

Indians too have made significant contributions and, therefore, have succeeded in getting this honour. Rabindranath Tagore, a renowned Indian poet, was the first Indian to receive the Nobel Prize in 1913 and since then, Indians have been able to win the prize in each of the six categories (including Tagore).

List of Indian Nobel Laureates

Five Indians, Rabindranath Tagore, Sir CV Raman, Mother Teresa, Amartya Sen, and Kailash Satyarthi, had Indian citizenship while receiving the award, whereas H. Khorana, S. Chandrasekhar, Venkat Ramakrishnan, and Abhijit Banerjee were Indians by birth but later became non-citizens of India. The individual Indian Nobel laureates are listed below.

Abhijit Banerjee

abhijit banerjee

  • Together with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, Abhijit Banerjee was awarded the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences "for their experimental approach to eliminating global poverty".
  • The eradication of global poverty in all its manifestations is one of humanity's most pressing problems.
  • Michael Kremer, Esther Duflo, and Abhijit Banerjee have devised a fresh method for discovering the most effective solutions to the problem of global poverty.
  • It entails breaking this problem down into more manageable questions.
  • Since the mid-1990s, field experiments have allowed researchers to test a variety of interventions in various contexts, such as enhancing child health or educational outcomes.

Kailash Satyarthi

kailash satyarthi

  • The Nobel Peace Prize 2014 was given to children's rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi "for bringing attention to the grave exploitation of children for financial gain".
  • He sets an unmatched standard in the field of social reforms with the Satyarthi Movement for Global Compassion by demonstrating what it means to live with compassion.
  • Mr. Satyarthi has developed a successful model for the education, rehabilitation, and reintegration of more than 100,000 children from child labour, slavery, trafficking, and other forms of exploitation through his organisation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan. 
  • He organised the Global March Against Child Labour, which inspired 103 nations to support the ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, which later became the only ILO convention to be ratified by every country.
  • He led a successful nationwide campaign to include education in the Constitution, which opened the door for India's Right to Free and Compulsory Education in 2009.

Venkat Ramakrishnan

venkat ramakrishnan

  • Venkatraman Ramakrishnan shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Ada E. Yonath and Thomas A. Steitz "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome".
  • Large, complex protein molecules made in ribosomes of cells control the vital processes of an organism. Messenger RNA translates genetic data into chains of amino acids that subsequently form proteins.
  • The structure of ribosomes, which contain hundreds of thousands of atoms, was mapped in 2000 by Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and other researchers using a method called x-ray crystallography. Among other things, this has been essential in the development of antibiotics.

Amartya Sen

amartya sen

  • Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel Prize "for his contributions to Welfare Economics" in 1998 including his creation of more complex poverty indicators and his research into the causes and avoidance of famines.
  • Welfare economics: With the aid of tools like cost-benefit analysis and social welfare functions, the field of welfare economics aims to assess the advantages and disadvantages of economic change and direct public policy in a direction that increases the overall good of society.
  • His contributions span a variety of fields, including the axiomatic theory of social choice, welfare definitions, poverty indices, and empirical studies of famine. A general interest in distributional issues and a focus on the most marginalised members of society are factors that bind them together closely.
  • Sen has clarified the conditions that permit aggregation of individual values into collective decisions and the conditions that permit rules for collective decision making that are consistent with a sphere of rights for the individual.
  • By analysing the available information about different individuals’ welfare when collective decisions are made, Sen has improved the theoretical foundation for comparing different distributions of society’s welfare and defined new and more satisfactory indexes of poverty.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

subrahmanyan chandrasekhar

  • Chandrasekhar shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with nuclear astrophysicist W.A. Fowler in 1983 "for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars".
  • He is remembered for having shaped later research into the understanding of stellar objects, white dwarfs, and black holes.
  • He is best known for the “Chandrasekhar Limit.”

Mother Teresa

mother teresa

  • Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 "for her work to bring help to suffering humanity".
  • Originally, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teressa, was born in Uskup, Ottoman Empire (now Skopje, North Macedonia), on August 26, 1910.
  • She left home at the age of eighteen and enrolled in the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish nunnery with missions in India.
  • Mother Teresa was a teacher at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta from 1931 to 1948, but the suffering and poverty she saw outside the convent walls left such a lasting impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and focus on helping the most vulnerable people in the city's slums.
  • She founded "The Missionaries of Charity" on October 7, 1950, with the primary goal of loving and caring for those whom no one else was willing to take care of. In 1965, the Society was made an International Religious Family by Pope Paul VI.
  • Mother Teresa has won numerous honours and awards for her efforts, including the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971) and the Nehru Prize for advancing world peace and understanding (1972).
  • Her work has been acknowledged and praised all over the world.
  • She also received the Templeton and Magsaysay awards, as well as the Balzan Prize in 1979.

Har Gobind Khorana

har gobind khorana

  • Har Gobind Khorana shared his 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Marshall W. Nirenberg and Robert W. Holley "for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis".
  • Genetic information is transmitted from DNA to RNA to protein; it was discovered in the 1950s. 
  • A specific amino acid found in a protein is correlated with a particular sequence of three nucleotides in DNA.
  • How is it possible to decipher the genetic code? The rest of the code was gradually cracked in the years that followed after Marshall Nirenberg found the first piece of the puzzle.
  • Har Gobind Khorana made significant contributions to this field by using enzymes to construct various RNA chains.
  • He was able to make proteins by using these enzymes. The remaining pieces of the puzzle were then revealed by these proteins' amino acid sequences.

Sir CV Raman

sir cv raman

  • Sir CV Raman is renowned for his research on the Raman Effect, or the scattering of monochromatic light through a transparent medium.
  • For this work, he was bestowed with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930. He was the first Asian to receive such honours.
  • Numerous applications of the Raman Effect (scattering) are based on its ability to reveal information about molecular vibration and rotational energy.

Rabindranath Tagore - First Nobel Prize in India

rabindranath tagore

  • Rabindranath Tagore received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 "for his profoundly sensitive, fresh, and beautiful verse, by means of which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West".
  • The first Indian Nobel laureate, Tagore, received the Nobel Prize for his book, Geetanjali.
  • Both Indian and Western academic traditions are strongly represented in Rabindranath Tagore's writing.
  • It also includes literary criticism, philosophy, social issues, and portrayals of everyday people's lives, in addition to fiction in the form of poetry, songs, stories, and plays.
  • Although Tagore originally wrote in Bengali, he later translated his poetry into English and found a large following in the West. His poetry was thought to convey the peace of the soul in harmony with nature, in contrast to the frenetic life in the West.

FAQs on Indian Winners of Nobel Prize

What is a Nobel Prize?

The Nobel Prize is a prestigious prize that is given annually for exceptional contributions in the fields of chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, literature, economics, and peace. It was founded in 1901, and the economics prize was added in 1969.

Which prominent Indians have received the Nobel Prize?

The prominent Indian personalities who have received the Nobel Prize include Abhijit Banerjee, Kailash Satyarthi, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, V. S. Naipaul, Amartya Sen, Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, Mother Teresa, Har Gobind Khorana, C. V. Raman, and Rabindranath Tagore.

Who received India's first Nobel Prize?

In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore became the first person from India and Asia to receive the Nobel Prize. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in recognition of his book, Geetanjali.

Which India born scientists have received the Nobel Prize in physics?

Sir CV Raman and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar are those India born scientists who have received the Nobel Prize in physics.

Which Indian citizens have received the Nobel Prize in peace?

Mother Teressa and Kailash Satyarthi are the Indian citizens who have received the Nobel Prize in Peace.