The Nobel Prize 2015 – a short summary


Today, on the 10 December, is the Nobel Day. It’s the day when all Nobel Laureates receive their prize (a medal, a document and 8 million SEK), and tonight there’s a banquet at the Blue Hall at the Stockholm City Hall. In this blogpost we present the laureates of the Nobel Prizes 2015 and their research:

Physiology or Medicine

This year’s Nobel Prize for medicine is shared by a three researchers. One half of the price goes to the researchers William C. Campbell and Satoshi Omura andCOLOURBOX11859448 the other half to Youyou Tu. The common denominator for their research is parasitic diseases. They have developed therapies which is successfully used to treat parasitic diseases like river blindness and malaria. These are severe and widespread diseases that primarily affect the poorest segments of humanity (1).

When Youyou Tu receieved the the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award 2011, she published an article describing her work in Nature Medicine (10/2011). The title of the article is The discovery of artemisinin (qinghaosu) and gifts from Chinese medicine and can easily be found if you make a search in Summon for the article title.


This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded to two scientists: Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald. These two scientists have, in different places, shown that neutrinos change shape (which require that they have mass). Neutrinos are the second most common particle in cosmos, and there are thousands of billions of neutrinos beaming through our bodies every second. The discovery could be crucial to how we look at the history, the construction and future of the universe (2).

If you want to read more about the discoveries that led to the Nobel Prize, there are several articles of the authors available through the Library – search for Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald in Summon.

We can also recommend the popular science summary that The Royal Swedish Academy of Science has written and made public when the laureates was announced. It is a six page summary that includes a description of neutrinos, the history behind the research and how the research can affect us in the future.


There are three scientists who share this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Thomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich COLOURBOX6699768and Aziz Sancar, all three of them has studied how cells repair DNA damage and thus ensures that the genetic information remains intact. Separately, these researchers have mapped the function of different repair systems inside the cells. This knowledge provides a new understanding of how cells work and creates opportunities, for example to develop new treatments for cancer (3).

There is a popular science summary published for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry as well. If you want to know a bit more about the different methods of DNA-repair we recommend reading it. It contains a brief description of the three repair methods, and it also gives a basic overview of what DNA is, and how each person’s DNA structure is created.


This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to the Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time” (4). In her books Alexievich uses journalistic methods and has written a series of documentary novels about the Soviet man called “Utopia votes – or the story of the red man.”

The Peace Prize

The ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize is held in Oslo,COLOURBOX16248742and it is The Norwegian Nobel Committee which selects the winners each year.This year the prize was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for their efforts that helped to create a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia after the Jasmine Revolution in 2011. The Arab Spring started in Tunisia 2010-2011 and then spread to several countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Today, the struggle for democracy encountered great obstacles in several of these countries, but Tunisia has

gone on to become a democratic society with respect for fundamental human rights (5).

If you search in Summon for the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet you get results from newspapers from all over the world about the quartet being awarded the peace prize. If you want to learn more about the Arab Spring, we have a lot of e-books on the subject.


The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic COLOURBOX5907082Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2015 was awarded Angus Deaton. The reason that Deaton was appointed laureate is that he to a very large extent helped to clarify how economic policies, that increase welfare and reduce poverty, should be designed. Deaton has in his research studied how household data can be used to draw conclusions about society, and studied how consumers allocate their spending on different types of products (6).

Since it’s the The Royal Swedish Academy of Science that appoints the laureate in economics science (as well as the chemistry laureate and the physics laureate), there is a nice popular science summary of the research made by Deaton.

Angus Deaton has also written numerous articles and books in his field of research. When you make a search in Summon, you find 175 books, book chapters and articles that Deaton has written.


(1) The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet (2015). Press Release 2015-10-05.
(2) The Royal Swedish Academy of Science (2015). Press Release 2015-10-06.
(3) The Royal Swedish Academy of Science (2015). Press Release 2015-10-07.
(4) The Swedish Academy (2015). Press Release 2015-10-08.
(5) The Norwegian Nobel Committee (2015). Press Release 2015-10-10.
(6) The Royal Swedish Academy of Science (2015). Press Release 2015-10-12.

Text: Katharina Nordling
Pictures: Colourbox