Receiving the Nobel Prize is one of the greatest nobilitations among the scientists, writers, and many other impressive personalities. Although the prizes don’t go very frequently to the Slavs, we have the reasons to be proud. Apart from the achievements in literature, Slavic countries brought many genius chemists, physicists, etc. It is impossible to mention all of them in one article.
1. Maria Skłodowska Curie Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911
Her story reminds the scientific version of the tale about Cinderella. She as born in 1861 in Warsaw, but to make her dreams come true she had to go to Paris. Those times women couldn’t study as efficiently as now, so her career was difficult since the beginning. Her research was focused on the theory of radioactivity. She discovered two elements, radium, and polonium. Maria was able to become the winner of the Noble Prize twice (the first one she shared with Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel). She was also the fist female professor at the University of Paris.
2. Jaroslav Heyrovský – Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1959
Born in Prague in 1890 is known as a father of the electroanalytical method. He discovered and developed the polarographic methods of analysis. He focused his scientific career on the innovative ideas that expanded the electrochemistry. As a specialist in polarography, he collaborated with universities around the world, including Poland, Denmark, Hungary, UK, India, France, Austria, USA, China, Egypt, Germany. One of the craters of the moon is named Heyrovský.
3. Fritz Pregl – Noble Prize in Chemistry in 1926
He was well known as Slovene-Austrian physician and chemist. He did an impressive research which improved the combustion train technique, one of the methods of elemental analysis. He studied medicine at the University of Graz, but his major field became chemistry. As a doctor, he was focused on physiology, but he found some limitations related to the quantitative organic microanalysis and decided to solve the problem what brought him a prestigious prize.
4. Jaroslav Seifert – Noble Prize in Literature in 1984
Famous Czechoslovak journalist, poet, and writer. Although considered as a very talented writer, he stays a controversial person among the Slavic Noble Prize laureates. He was a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) and worked for a communist publishing house. However, in 1929 he left the KSČ and signed a manifesto against the Bolshevik tendencies. Later he worked as a journalist with the social-democratic vision of the world. Due to the bad health condition was unable to attend the Noble Prize ceremony, he died two years later.
5. Ivo Andrić – Noble Prize in Literature in 1961
He was born in 1892 in Bosnia but he is Croatian by origin. His works were focused mainly on Bosnia under Ottoman Empire rule.Often mentioned as Yugoslav novelist and poet, caught the eye of Noble Prize Committee. He won over the writers such as John Steinbeck and J.R.R. Tolkien. When his books became well known worldwide, he started a battle with a dangerous disease, and couldn’t follow promotional events. However, the Noble Prize brought him the interest of the publishers around the world. Apart from being a writer, he was a member of Serbian and Yugoslav academies of arts and sciences. He collaborated with media and received several honorary doctorates.
6. Leopold Ružička – Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1939
If Leopold Ružička were born a few decades later, he would be perhaps eve more successful. Sadly, when he received the Nobel Prize and was ready to continue the research, the World War II has begun. He received doctorates honoris causa in medicine, law, and science. As a professor of organic chemistry, he worked on the synthesis of sex hormones, androsterone, and testosterone. After the World War II, he returned to chemistry but turned to the problems of evolution and biochemistry. He was born in Vukovar, present day Croatia.
7. Vladimir Prelog – Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1975
Croatian chemist that was born and grew up in Sarajevo, but the most fruitful part of his career was possible due to the Swiss citizenship. Prelog was a chemist, specialist in stereochemistry. He received a Noble Prize for his research focused on the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reaction. To achieve such a success, he connected the powers with British/Australian chemist John Cornforth. He was a Foreign Member of the Royal Society and the honorary member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts.
8. Tadeusz Reichstein – Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1950
He was born in Włocławek in Poland. However, he spent his childhood in Kiev, and when he was eight years old, he arrived in Switzerland. His collaboration with British researchers allowed to synthesize the vitamin C. During his entire career he worked with the best specialists in his field. The Noble Prize he received was shared with E.C. Kendall and P.S Hench. They were awarded for work on hormones of the adrenal cortex. The research allowed to isolate the cortisone. Moreover, Reichstein published over 80 papers on the phytochemistry and cytology.