Early Nobel Prize Nominees

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Photos of the Month - October 2017

Every fall dating back to 1901, we anticipate the announcement of the Nobel Prizes, specifically the Nobel Prize in Physics. To be awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics is a surefire way to cement one’s place in history and to join an ever-growing list of some of the field’s most impressive innovators. To see images and related resources from our archives of past Nobel Laureates, view our recently revamped W.F. Meggers Gallery of Nobel Laureates

Perhaps more telling than the list of physicists who have won the Nobel Prize in Physics is the list of individuals who were nominated but were not awarded the prize. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences releases a new set of data each year, from 50 years ago, which includes information about the nominees who were not named as Nobel Prize winners.

Our friends at Physics Today recently dug into the publicly available data and created a tool you can use to analyze the data available about Nobel Prize in Physics nominees from 1901-1966. We’ve partnered with them to provide many archival images to accompany this tool, and are showcasing some of them here this month as our October selection of Photos of the Month.

Here, you will see images of five women, including Chien-Shiung Wu, Marietta Blau, and Dorothy Crowfoot, who were nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics from 1901-1966. In total, 9 nominees in those 65 years were women, adding up to 1.8% of the total nominees.

Marietta Blau, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics 4 times between 1901 and 1966.

Credit line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Gift of Eva Connors

Lise Meitner, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics 29 times between 1901 and 1966.

Credit line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Chien-Shiung Wu, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics 8 times between 1901 and 1966.

Credit line: American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Dorothy Hodgkin, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics 8 times between 1901 and 1966.

Credit line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection

Margaret Burbidge, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics 1 time between 1901 and 1966.

Credit line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection