[Physics FAQ] - [Copyright]
Originally compiled by Scott Chase, Phil Gibbs, and Johan Wevers.
The following is a complete listing of Nobel Prize awards, from the first award in 1901. Prizes were not awarded in every year. The date in brackets is the approximate date of the work. The description following the names is an abbreviation of the official citation.
The Physics prize is announced near the beginning of October each year. One of the quickest ways to get the announcement is to watch the Nobel Foundation web site at http://nobelprize.org.
1901  Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen Discovery of X rays. 1902  Hendrik Antoon Lorentz Magnetism in radiation phenomena. Pieter Zeeman 1903  Antoine Henri Bequerel Spontaneous radioactivity.  Pierre Curie Marie Sklodowska-Curie 1904  Lord Rayleigh Density of gases and discovery of argon. (a.k.a. John William Strutt) 1905  Pilipp Eduard Anton von Lenard Cathode rays. 1906  Joseph John Thomson Conduction of electricity by gases. 1907 Albert Abraham Michelson Precision meteorological investigations. 1908 Gabriel Lippman Reproducing colors photographically, based on the phenomenon of interference. 1909  Carl Ferdinand Braun Wireless telegraphy. Guglielmo Marconi 1910  Johannes Diderik van der Waals Equation of state of fluids. 1911  Wilhelm Wien Laws of radiation of heat. 1912  Nils Gustaf Dalén Automatic gas flow regulators. 1913  Heike Kamerlingh Onnes Matter at low temperature. 1914  Max von Laue Crystal diffraction of X rays. 1915  William Henry Bragg X-ray analysis of crystal structure. William Lawrence Bragg 1916 No award. 1917  Charles Glover Barkla Characteristic X-ray spectra of elements. 1918  Max Planck Energy quanta. 1919  Johannes Stark Splitting of spectral lines in electric fields. 1920 Charles-Edouard Guillaume Anomalies in nickel–steel alloys. 1921  Albert Einstein Photoelectric effect. 1922  Niels Bohr Structure of atoms. 1923  Robert Andrew Millikan Elementary charge of electricity. 1924 Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn X-ray spectroscopy. 1925  James Franck Impact of an electron on an atom. Gustav Hertz 1926 Jean Baptiste Perrin Sedimentation equilibrium. 1927  Arthur Holly Compton Compton effect.  Charles Thomson Rees Wilson Invention of the cloud chamber. 1928  Owen Willans Richardson Thermionic phenomena, Richardson's Law. 1929  Prince Louis-Victor de Broglie Wave nature of electrons. 1930  Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman Scattering of light, Raman effect. 1931 No award. 1932  Werner Heisenberg Quantum Mechanics. 1933  Erwin Schrödinger Atomic theory.  Paul Dirac 1934 No award. 1935  James Chadwick The neutron. 1936  Carl Anderson The positron.  Victor Franz Hess Cosmic rays. 1937  Clinton Joseph Davisson Crystal diffraction of electrons. George Paget Thomson 1938  Enrico Fermi New radioactive elements. 1939  Ernest Orlando Lawrence Invention of the cyclotron. 1940–1942 No award. 1943  Otto Stern Proton magnetic moment. 1944  Isador Isaac Rabi Magnetic resonance in atomic nuclei. 1945  Wolfgang Pauli The exclusion principle. 1946  Percy Williams Bridgman Production of extremely high pressures. 1947  Sir Edward Victor Appleton Physics of the upper atmosphere. 1948  Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett Cosmic ray showers in cloud chambers. 1949  Hideki Yukawa Prediction of mesons. 1950  Cecil Frank Powell Photographic emulsion for meson studies. 1951  Sir John Douglas Cockroft Artificial acceleration of atomic particles and transmutation of nuclei. Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton 1952  Felix Bloch Nuclear magnetic precision methods. Edward Mills Purcell 1953  Frits Zernike Phase-contrast microscope. 1954  Max Born Fundamental research in quantum mechanics.  Walther Bothe Coincidence counters. 1955  Polykarp Kusch Electron magnetic moment.  Willis Eugene Lamb Hydrogen fine structure. 1956  William Shockley Transistors. John Bardeen Walter Houser Brattain 1957 Tsung Dao Lee Parity violation.  Chen Ning Yang 1958  Pavel Aleksejevic Cerenkov Interpretation of the Cerenkov effect.  Il'ja Mickajlovic Frank Igor' Evgen'evic Tamm 1959 Owen Chamberlain The antiproton.  Emilio Gino Segre 1960  Donald Arthur Glaser The bubble chamber. 1961  Robert Hofstadter Electron scattering on nucleons. Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer Resonant absorption of photons. 1962  Lev Davidovic Landau Theory of liquid helium. 1963  Eugene Wigner Fundamental symmetry principles.  Hans Jensen Nuclear shell structure. Maria Goeppert Mayer 1964 Nikolai Basov Maser-Laser principle. Alexander Prochorov  Charles Townes 1965  Richard Feynman Quantum electrodynamics. Julian Schwinger Sin-Itiro Tomonaga 1966  Alfred Kastler Study of hertzian resonance in atoms. 1967  Hans Albrecht Bethe Energy production in stars. 1968  Luis W. Alvarez Discovery of many-particle resonances. 1969  Murray Gell-Mann Quark model for particle classification. 1970  Hannes Alfvén Magneto-hydrodynamics in plasma physics.  Louis Néel Ferromagnetism and antiferromagnetism. 1971  Dennis Gabor Principles of holography. 1972  John Bardeen Theory of superconductivity. Leon Cooper Robert Schrieffer 1973  Leo Esaki Tunneling in superconductors. Ivar Giaever  Brian Josephson Super-current through tunnel barriers. 1974  Antony Hewish Discovery of pulsars.  Sir Martin Ryle Pioneering radioastronomy work. 1975  Aage Bohr Structure of the atomic nucleus. Ben Mottelson James Rainwater 1976  Burton Richter Discovery of the J/Psi particle. Samual Chao Chung Ting 1977  Philip Warren Anderson Electronic structure of magnetic and disordered solids.  Nevill Francis Mott John Hasbrouck Van Vleck 1978  Pyotr Kapitsa Liquefaction of helium.  Arno Penzias Cosmic microwave background radiation. Robert Wilson 1979  Sheldon Glashow Electroweak theory, especially weak neutral currents.  Steven Weinberg  Abdus Salam 1980  James Cronin Discovery of CP violation in the asymmetric decay of neutral K mesons. Val Fitch 1981 Kai Seigbahn High-resolution electron spectroscopy.  Nicolaas Bloembergen Laser spectroscopy. Arthur Schawlow 1982  Kenneth Wilson Critical phenomena in phase transitions. 1983  Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Evolution of stars.  William Fowler 1984  Simon van der Meer Stochastic cooling for colliders.  Carlo Rubbia Discovery of W and Z particles. 1985  Klaus von Klitzing Discovery of (integer) quantum Hall effect. 1986  Gerd Binnig Scanning tunneling microscopy. Heinrich Rohrer  Ernst August Friedrich Ruska Electron microscopy. 1987  Georg Bednorz High-temperature superconductivity. Alex Müller 1988  Leon Max Lederman Discovery of the muon neutrino, leading to classification of particles into families. Melvin Schwartz Jack Steinberger 1989 Hans Georg Dehmelt Penning trap for charged particles. Wolfgang Paul Paul trap for charged particles. Norman Ramsey Control of atomic transitions by the separated oscillatory fields method. 1990  Jerome Isaac Friedman Deep inelastic scattering experiments leading to the discovery of quarks. Henry Way Kendall Richard Edward Taylor 1991 Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Order-disorder transitions in liquid crystals and polymers. 1992 Georges Charpak Multiwire proportional chamber. 1993  Russell Hulse Discovery of the first binary pulsar and subsequent tests of general relativity. Joseph Taylor 1994  Bertram Brockhouse Neutron scattering experiments.  Clifford Shull 1995  Martin Perl Discovery of the tau lepton.  Frederick Reines Detection of the neutrino. 1996 David Lee Superfluidity in helium-3. Douglas Osheroff Robert Richardson 1997  Steven Chu Development of methods to trap and cool atoms with laser light. Claude Cohen-Tannoudji William Phillips 1998  Robert Laughlin Discovery and theory of the fractional quantum Hall effect. Horst Störmer Daniel Tsui 1999  Gerard 't Hooft Development of a renormalisation scheme for non-abelian gauge theories. Martin Veltman 2000  Herbert Kroemer Growing of heterostructures.  Zhores Alferov Semiconductor laser based on heterostructures.  Jack Kilby Invention of the integrated circuit. 2001 Eric Cornell Bose–Einstein condensation of alkali metals. Carl Wieman Wolfgang Ketterle 2002 Raymond Davis Jr Detection of cosmic neutrinos. Masatosh Koshiba Riccardo Giacconi Detection of cosmic X rays. 2003 Alexei Abrikosov Pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluids.  Vitaly Ginzburg  Anthony Leggett 2004  David Gross Discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction. David Politzer Frank Wilczek 2005 Roy Glauber Quantum theory of optical coherence. John Hall Development of ultra-high precision measurements of light. Theodor Hänsch 2006 John Mather Study of the early universe, and developing the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) experiment. George Smoot 2007 Albert Fert Discovery of giant magnetoresistance. Peter Grünberg 2008 Yoichiro Nambu Discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous symmetry breaking. Makoto Kobayashi Discovery of the origin of symmetry breaking. Toshihide Maskawa 2009 Charles Kao Achievements concerning transmission of light in optical fibres. Willard Boyle Invention of the charge-coupled device (CCD). George Smith 2010 Andre Geim Experiments in graphene. Konstantin Novoselov 2011 Saul Perlmutter Discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe. Brian Schmidt Adam Riess 2012 Serge Haroche New experimental methods for studying individual quantum systems. David Wineland 2013 François Englert Theory of the Higgs mechanism. Peter Higgs 2014 Isamu Akasaki Invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes. Hiroshi Amano Shuji Nakamura 2015 Takaaki Kajita Discovery of neutrino oscillations. Arthur McDonald 2016 David Thouless Discoveries involving topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter. F. Haldane J. Kosterlitz 2017 Rainer Weiss Contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves. Barry Barish Kip Thorne 2018 Arthur Ashkin Inventions in the field of laser physics. Gérard Mourou Donna Strickland 2019 James Peebles Contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth's place in the cosmos. Michel Mayor Didier Queloz 2020 Roger Penrose The discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of general relativity. Reinhard Genzel The discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy. Andrea Ghez 2021 Syukuro Manabe The physical modelling of Earth's climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming. Klaus Hasselmann Giorgio Parisi The discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems, from atomic to planetary scales.