THE NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY

A 1986 DNA model used by Aziz Sancar, who was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

About the prize

“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- - -/ one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement...”  (Excerpt from the will of Alfred Nobel.)

Chemistry was the most important science for Alfred Nobel’s own work. The development of his inventions as well as the industrial processes he employed were based upon chemical knowledge. Chemistry was the second prize area that Nobel mentioned in his will.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.

See all chemistry laureates or learn about the nomination process.

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The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna have discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.

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© Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna “for the development of a method for genome editing”.

Since Charpentier and Doudna discovered the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors in 2012 their use has exploded. The genetic scissors have taken the life sciences into a new epoch and, in many ways, are bringing the greatest benefit to humankind.

© Nobel Media. Ill. Niklas Elmehed.

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Other discoveries

Learn more about Svante Arrhenius, who first made the connection between carbon dioxide levels and global temperature.

Sea level rise, NASA

A map of the Earth with a six-metre sea level rise represented in red

Credit: NASA

Watch the Nobel Lecture by one of 2016’s laureates Jean-Pierre Sauvage, who helped develop molecular machines.

Jean-Pierre Sauvage

Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

Frederick Sanger received the prize twice: in 1958 for his work on the structure of proteins and in 1980 for DNA sequencing.

Frederick Sanger Calibration catalogue of amino acids (1)

The double Nobel-awarded laureate Frederick Sanger‘s calibration catalogue of amino acids

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

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