[Nobel] 2014 Winners: Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Economics, Literature, Peace- Malala, Satyarthi

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Unacademy Plus Mrunal Economy for Prelims and Mains UPSC!
  1. Nobel Prize Theory
  2. Nobel Physics 2014
    1. BEE to promote LED:
  3. Nobel Medicine 2014
  4. Noble Chemistry 2014
    1. Confocal microscope
  5. Nobel Economics 2014
  6. Nobel Peace Prize 2014
    1. Kailash Satyarthi
    2. Malala Yousafzai
    3. Tokenism in Peace prize 2014?
  7. Noble Literature 2014
  8. Nobel 2014: Quick revision Table
  9. Nobel winners with Indian Connection
  10. Mock Questions

Nobel Prize Theory

  • 1896: Dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel (Sweden) died. He left a fund to give awards in 5 categories: Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace. Later 6th Category added: Economics.
  • 1901: started. Maximum 3 persons can be awarded in each category.
  • A person must be alive to be nominated.
  • Nobel prize recipients are called laureates.
  • Nobel prizes are announced in advance but actual medals given on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
  • They get medal, diploma, and 8-million Swedish kroner (SEK) = ~ $1.1 million
Who gives the money?
All except Economics medal fund created by Dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, Sweden.
Economics From Bank of Sweden (Riksbank)


Where is the award party held?
Oslo, Norway The Nobel Peace Prize given here.
Stockholm, Sweden Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Economics medals given here.


Inscriptions on Nobel medal?
Economics No inscription
Peace For the peace and brotherhood of men.
Physics, Chemistry, Medicine And they who bettered life on earth by new found mastery.

Nobel Physics 2014

Names Contribution
  1. Isamu Akasaki (Japan)
  2. Hiroshi Amano(Japan)
  3. Shuji Nakamura (US)
  • First, Red and Green LEDs were invented. But still white light couldnot be produced.
  • 20 years ago, these three invented Blue LED (light emitting diode) using Indiaum Gallium Nitride semiconductor (InGaN)
  • Blue +Red + Green  = White LED light produced, hence LED became popular.
  • Today LEDs are the most efficient source of light.
Nobel Physics award 2014 LED

Without invention of Blue LED, we could never get white LED light!

2013 Nobel Physics: sub-atomic particles.

BEE to promote LED:

We should use LED because they’re

  • 50% more energy efficient than CFL
  • does not use mercury, unlike CFL.
  • Lifespan 4-5 times more than CFLs
  • Uses 1/10 energy of an incandescent bulb.
  • Yet produces same amount of light.

Challenge: high cost than CFL and bulbs. Therefore, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the Ministry of Power, came up with following ideas:

  • Give financial support to all states- to promote LED use.
  • Under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyuthikaran Yojana (RGGVY): Give LED bulbs to BPL families.
  • Electricity distribution firms should sign pacts with LED companies. To supply LED bulbs at discounted rates to their consumers.
  • For example BEE + EESL (a JV of PSUs) began selling LED bulbs to households at Rs.10 instead of MRP of Rs.400.
  • The electricity distribution companies then repays EESL, over a period of 5 to 8.
  • BEE will launch a labelling programme and awareness campaign for LED.

Nobel Medicine 2014

Names Contribution
  1. John O’Keefe (UK)
  2. May—Britt Moser (Norway)
  3. Edvard Moser(Norway)
  • Discovering the brain’s positioning system.
  • Certain Nerve cells become active to enhance our spatial memory
  • Only then, we can remember things and their exact place around us.
  • In Alzheimer’s disease patient loses his spatial memory as well.
  • These 3 scientists’ research will help fixing that. Hence Nobel.
  • 2013 Nobel Medicine: how substances move within a cell.
  • 2012 Nobel Medicine to Gurdon and Yamanaka  for iPS stem cells. Important because Modi during his Japan visit, asked Yamanaka to cure sickle cell anaemia.

Noble Chemistry 2014

Names Contribution
  1. Eric Betzig (US)
  2. William Moerner (US)
  3. Stefan Hell (Germany)
  • Earlier optical micrometers could show resolution upto  0.2 micrometres only (=half the wavelength of light)..
  • But these 3 gentlemen developed  super-resolved fluorescence microscope, which can show details in nanometers.
  • Hence the Nobel.
  • 2013 Nobel Chemistry: computer model to predict chemical reactions- to make new drugs.

now let’s check a Related topic from October week 2, 2014:

Confocal microscope

Relevance: (GSM3) Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology

  • Indian scientists designed this microscope
  • Using funding from CSIR – Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
  • Broad Spectrum Confocal Microscope can generate 3D images of objects.
  • Uses Infra-red beams and patented crystal fibres.
  • Imported microscope of this quality =4 cr.
  • Desi microscope: ~1.5 cr.

Nobel Economics 2014

Jean Tirole (France)

  • If Government doesn’t regulate private firms => Private monopoly=> new players can’t enter => lack of competition => high prices => market failure.
  • Jean designed frameworks on how should Government regulate private telecom, banking, mfg. industry etc. without nationalizing them. How to prevent cartels and monopolies.
  • Following his model, many developing countries began disinvestment and privatization of Public sector units in the 80s and 80s.
  • Economics Nobel is given by Sweden’s Central bank.
  • 2013 Nobel: How market prices of bonds/stocks/real-estate move.

Nobel Peace Prize 2014

Given jointly to Kailash Satyarthi (India) and Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan).

Kailash Satyarthi

  • Electrical Engineer from Madhya Pradesh.
  • Head of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) — the Save Childhood Movement
  • freed 80,000 children from factories, brick-kilns, carpet making and other bonded labour jobs. Even sustained attacks from local mafia while doing that.
  • helped in their education and rehabilitation.
  • Member of UNESCO group on “Education for all”.
  • Wants the world leaders to include child-slavery abolition in Post-
  • Has won Robert F. Kennedy International Human Rights Award (US) and several such civilian award in Spain, Italy and Europe.
  • Government of India never gave him any Padma award.
  • European Government nominated him for this Nobel Prize.

Only three people from India got Peace Nobel

  • 1979: Mother Teresa
  • 2007: RK Pachauri with Al Gore (climate change)
  • 2014: Satyarthi.

Malala Yousafzai

Only two pakistanis won Nobel so far.

  • 1979: Physics- Abdus Salam for subatomic particles
  • 2014: Peace- Malala for advocating girl education.

Malala is youngest person to win Nobel (age 17). Broke record of Lawrence Braggs (25 years old, Physics noble-1915).

  • She hails from Village Mingora, Swat Valley, Pakistan.
  • Wrote a BBC-blog pseudonym ‘Gul Makai’ (2009).
  • Advocated girl child education in Pakistan. Hence Talibans did not like it. NOT ONE BIT. so, they shot her in the head.
  • Government sent her to UK for treatment. Currently living in Birmingham, crusading for education via speeches, books, and social media.

Malala has written following Books:

  1. I’m Malala (co-author Christina Lamb)
  2. Malala: the girl who stood up for education and changed the world (co-author Patricia McCormick).

Tokenism in Peace prize 2014?

  • 2013 Peace prize given to Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. (OPCW)- Therefore still important for GS2: International bodies. UPSC occasionally ask stuff after it becomes “outdated”, same happened with Chandrayan.
  • Anyways, back to the topic- 2014: Malala and Satyarthi got peace prize. Some people see Joint Prize to an Indian and a Pakistani- as a “symbolic-gesture” to stop the border tension.
  • But Nobel Committee clarified, this wasn’t linked with India-Pak LoC firing at all.
  • Malala selection done in context of ISIS extremism.
  • Satyarthi was a genuine activist nominated by European parliament. (And not a Jholachhap NGO working with NAC or planning commission.)
  • Both were less controversial than other contenders- Edward Snowden, Pope Francis.
  • Nobel Committee’s message is: Hindus, Muslims, Indians, Pakistanis – all need to join a common struggle for education and against extremism.

Noble Literature 2014

Patrick “Modi”-ano (France)

  • Novelist who write on themes of WW2, Nazi occupation.
  • Famous book: “Missing person”
  • 2013 Nobel: Canada’s Alice Munro for short stories

Nobel 2014: Quick revision Table

  • Nobel Prize 2014_1
  • Nobel Prize 2014_2
  • Nobel Prize 2014_3
  • Nobel Prize 2014_4
  • Nobel Prize 2014_5
  • Nobel Prize 2014_6
Category Names Contribution
  1. Isamu Akasaki (Japan)
  2. Hiroshi Amano(Japan)
  3. Shuji Nakamura (US)
  • Blue LED invention
  • Red + green + blue = white
  1. John O’Keefe (UK)
  2. May—Britt Moser (Norway)
  3. Edvard Moser(Norway)
  • Cells that create brain’s positioning system.
  • This system Help us remember “exact places” of things
  • Can help in Alzheimer’s disease
  1. Eric Betzig (US)
  2. William Moerner (US)
  3. Stefan Hell (Germany)
  • Microscope: Super-resolved fluorescence
  • Nanometer resolution
Economics Jean Tirole (France) How to prevent monopolies and facilitate competition.
  1. Malala Yousafzai (Pak)
  2. Kailash Satyarthi (India)
Child rights, child education
Literature Patrick Modiano (France) Novels on anti-Nazi, WW2 themes.

Nobel winners with Indian Connection

Year Winner Category
1902 Ronald Ross, born in Almora. Malaria research Medicine
1907 Rudyard Kipling, born in Mumbai Literature
1913 Rabindranath Tagore Literature
1930 Sir C.V. Raman, Bharat Ratna Physics
1968 Dr. Hargobind Khorana Medicine
1979 Mother Teresa (Macedonia) worked in Kolkata. Bharat Ratna Peace
1983 Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar Physics
1998 Dr.Amartya Sen, Bharat Ratna Economics
2001 VS Naipul (Trinidad and Tobago) Literature
2007 Dr. RK Pachauri (with Al Gore) for climate change work Peace
2009 Venkatraman “Venky” Ramakrishnan – Ribosome Chemistry
2014 Kailash Satyarthi – Child rights activist Peace

Mock Questions


  1. Non-UPSC exams: trivial GK on winner vs nationality, winner vs category, facts from theory. Indian connection table.
  2. CSAT: principles behind LED light, brain’s positioning system, “match the following” winner with invention; microeconomics definitions about monopoly, oligopoly etc.


  1. IFoS Mains: They ask shortnotes about “persons in news” (PIN) so all winners and their contribution important.
  2. CSE Mains: indirect questions about LED / energy savings ; child-rights and child-education related laws/schemes/bodies in India; CCI structure function and so on.

For more persons in news (PIN), visit Mrunal.org/PIN

Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

76 Comments on “[Nobel] 2014 Winners: Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Economics, Literature, Peace- Malala, Satyarthi”

  1. Dear All,

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