List of Nobel Prize Winners from India

29 Jul 2022  Read 78818 Views

We get up, we work like maniacs- because time is always running out, so we can hardly spare any leisure time, and even if we could spare some free time, only a handful of people will dedicate this time working for the benefit of humankind. Bitter but true, isn't it? This article discusses the contribution of those handfuls of people who have devoted their entire life to mankind. As a symbol of gratitude and honour, they have bestowed a prize that has been created to reward the discoveries which confer a greater benefit to mankind, i.e., the Nobel prize comprising prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace.

However, later in 1968, a 6th prize was added in the field of economic sciences. This Prize is officially not a Nobel Prize, but it is known as "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel." It was created by Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank). In this article, we will discuss the history of the Nobel prize, how and when it started, how much it cost, and the Indians who were given this honour. In detail. Let’s get started!

History of Nobel Prize

Alfred Nobel, known for his invention of dynamite, was a Swedish chemist, engineer and industrialist who died in 1896. Before death in 1895, he signed his last will to use all of his assets and fortunes to establish five prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Economics and Peace, which were later collectively called the Nobel Prizes. The Prize money for this comes from the bequest left by Alfred Nobel himself.

  • Shockingly, in 1888, a French newspaper published the obituary of Alfred Nobel, who was alive at that time, with the title, ‘The Merchant Of Death Is Dead’. 

  • He was traumatized by reading his obituary in the newspaper & decided to change his own will so that people remember him for a lengthy time. 

  • Throughout his entire life, Alfred Nobel wrote various wills, but the ultimate one was composed just a year before his death in 1895, as we had discussed, and was signed at the Swedish–Norwegian Club in Paris. 

  • The will was not approved by the Storting in Norway until 1897. Thereafter, a Nobel Foundation was formed by the executors of such will, Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist, to take care of his assets & to organize the awarding of the Nobel Prizes

  • The foundation has been exempted from all the taxes in Sweden since 1946 & from investment taxes in the United States since 1953. 

Can the Nobel Prize be given posthumously?

The first Nobel Prize was bestowed on 10 December 1901. Although Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously (meaning prizes awarded after a person's death), if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it, then the prize is presented. Only two persons have been given the prize posthumously to date i.e., before 1974, the Nobel Prize has only been awarded posthumously to Dag Hammarskjöld (Nobel Peace Prize 1961) and Erik Axel Karlfeldt (Nobel Prize in Literature 1931)

How much is a Nobel Prize worth?

In 2021, the Nobel Prize was worth around 10 million Swedish kronor i.e., around 10 crores INR. The award money has increased over the years, and only a handful of laureates have won it with increased worth, but only in the last three decades.

Who won the Nobel Prize in India?

List of Indian citizens who won Nobel Prize 

Each recipient of the Nobel Prize is known as the Laureate, a prize that was first instituted in 190 and among the recipients, 12 are Indians (five Indian citizens and seven of Indian ancestry or residency).

Nobel Laureates

Nobel Prize Category


Rabindranath Tagore 

The Nobel Prize in Literature, 1913

Rabindranath Tagore was a writer, song composer, playwright, essayist, painter & whatnot. He was awarded the prestigious award due to his profoundly sensitive, fresh, and beautiful verse.

CV Raman 

The Nobel Prize in Physics, 1930

CV Raman was awarded the prestigious award ‘for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him'. He discovered the ‘Raman Effect’, the phenomenon of change in wavelength in deflected light rays. 

Mother Teresa 

The Nobel Prize in Peace, 1979

Mother Teresa won the prize ‘For work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace'. She earned the Nobel Prize in 1979. 

Amartya Sen 

The Nobel Prize in Economic Studies, 1998

Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Studies ‘for his contributions to welfare economics'. He made contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory & the measure of the well-being of citizens in developing countries etc.

Kailash Satyarthi 

The Nobel Prize in Peace, 2014

In 2014, Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai were jointly awarded the prestigious award ‘for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of children to education’. 

List of Indian-born Nobel Laureates

  • Har Gobind Khorana – The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1968

  • Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar – The Nobel Prize in Physics 1983

  • Venkatraman Ramakrishnan – The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009

List of Nobel Laureates with Indian Links

  • Ronald Ross – The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 1902

  • Rudyard Kipling – The Nobel Prize in Literature 1907

  • 14th Dalai Lama – The Nobel Peace Prize

  • V. S. Naipaul – The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001

  • Abhijit Banerjee- The Nobel Prize in Economics 2019

People who refused the Nobel Prize

The 59-year-old author Jean-Paul Sartre refused the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he was awarded in October 1964. He said ‘he always refused official distinctions and did not want to be “institutionalized”.’ Then in 1974, Paul was joined by Le Duc Tho, who, along with Henry Kissinger, shared the peace prize for their work to end the Vietnam War. However, Le Duc Tho also refused to accept it, saying that “peace has not yet been established.” 

Did you know? In India- Mahatma Gandhi, a man who had many admirers and critics alike, was nominated for the peace prize on 5 occasions. He was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before Nathuram Godse murdered him in January 1948. He never refused the Prize but was not awarded the Nobel Prize anytime.

2021 Nobel Prize Winners

Nobel Prize Category

Nobel Laureates

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2021

David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian

Nobel Prize in Physics 2021

Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021

Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan

Nobel Prize in Literature 2021

Abdulrazak Gurnah

Nobel Prize in Peace 2021

Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2021

David Card, Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens

The prizes have been awarded 603 times, including the Prize in Economic Sciences till February 2021. A total of 962 individuals and 28 organizations have received the award. Few people have received the award more than once, making it 930 individuals and 25 unique organizations.

2022 Nobel Prize Winners

Nobel Prize Category

Nobel Prize Winners

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

K. Barry Sharpless

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Carolyn Bertozzi
Nobel Peace Prize 

Russian Rights Group Memorial

Nobel Peace Prize 

Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties

Nobel Peace Prize 

Ales Bialiatski, Belarusian Activist

Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine

Svante Paabo

Nobel Prize in Physics

Alain Aspect

Nobel Prize in Physics

John F Clauser

Nobel Prize in Physics

Anton Zeilinger

Nobel Prize in Literature

Annie Ernaux

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

Ben S. Bernanke

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

Douglas W. Diamond

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

Philip H. Dybvig

The Nobel Prize Insignias

At the ceremony for the Nobel Prize, the Nobel Laureates receive three things - a Nobel diploma, a Nobel Medal and a document confirming the Nobel Prize amount. Famous Swedish and Norwegian artists create medals and diplomas.


It’s difficult to guess who will receive the Nobel prize as it's a complicated matter. According to the rules laid down by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in 1895, the Nobel selection committee can only honour up to three people, which is getting harder given the collaborative nature of much scientific research.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 275 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Manager at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course). She is a patent analyst & had also done advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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