The Nobel Prize 2017 – a brief summary


On Sunday it’s the Nobel Day again; here you will get a brief presentation of the prizes and the research behind them, as well as some tips for further reading on each prize.


This year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine is shared between three different researchers; the prize is divided equally between Jeffery C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young. They are awarded the prize for their research on the biological clock that all living organisms have inside. That living organisms adapts to the differens phases of the day have been known for a long time, but Hall, Rosbash and Young have found out how this 24-hour cycle actually works. This has led to the development of a new fast-growing research field, important for human health (1).

If you want to read some of the articles where the research behind the prize is presented, you’ll find three of them in the library’s collections.


This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics is also shared between three different researchers. Half the prize goes to Rainer Weiss and the other half is divided between Barry C. Barish and Kip  S. Thorne. All these three researchers have participated in research on the universe’s gravitational waves. The waves, which was predicted by Albert Einstein a hundred years ago, was finally captured in 2015. This is ground breaking and something that will revolutionize astrophysics as new unseen worlds open up. There will be a plenty of new discoveries about the universe to be made by those who succeed in capturing gravity waves (2).

A big collaborative project for this research is LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) where all three reserachers are involved (2).


This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry is, as the previous two prizes presented, shared by three researchers, namely Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson, who equally share the prize. These three researchers get the prize for their contributions to the development of a method that has played a major role in the development of biochemistry. The method is called cryo-electron microscopy and is used to develop three-dimensional structures in atomic resolution of biomolecules. Among other things, it has been used to take prints on proteins that cause antibiotic resistance and the zika virus (which can be seen in the image to the right) (3).

If your search in Primo, you will find plenty of articles where the method has been used.


This year’s Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to Kazuo Ishiguro “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world” (4). Ishiguro’s stories often explores the themes: memory, time and self-delusion, something that becomes very clear in his most famous novel The Remains of the Day – a book that also became a film with, among others, Anthony Hopkins (5). Here you will find a list of all the books available in the library’s collections.


This year’s Peace Prize is awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, “the organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”. Among other things, the campaign has been the driving force behind that the UN member states adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (6). At the award ceremony in Oslo, Executive Director of the campaign Beatrice Fihn will receive the prize together with Setsuko Thurlow nuclear bomb survivor, who was 13 years old when her hometown Hiroshima was bombed by the United States in 1945 (7). The image comes from one of ICAN’s campaign events around the world.


The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel is this year awarded to Richard H. Thaler for his contribution to the behavioral economics. Thaler’s research moves within three subjects: limited rationality, social preferences and lack of self-control. The results within these three areas have laid the foundation for the new and rapidly expanding research area of behavioral economics. In the library there are two of Thaler’s books, including Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness – which is about how we daily make a lot of different decisions, but unfortunately it is often quite bad decisions we make. The book is thus about what we can do to make better decisions. In addition, there are a lot of articles by Thaler to read – here is a list of those found in the library collections.

(1) The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet (2017). Press release 2017-10-02.
(2) The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2017). Press release 2017-10-03.
(3) The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2017). Press release 2017-10-04.
(4) Svenska Akademien (2017). Press release 2017-10-05.
(5) Svenska Akademien (2017). Biobibliographical notes.
(6) Den Norske Nobelkomite (2017). Press release 2017-10-06.
(7) ICAN (2017). Atomic bomb survivor to jointly accept Nobel Peace Prize on ICAN’s behalf. 
(8) The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2017). Press release 2017-10-09.

Text: Katharina Nordling
Bilder: Mostphotos (om inte annat anges).

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