Australian Scientists, Nobel Prize Winners

The large number of Australian scientists who won the Nobel prize is a strong evidence of the high quality of education in Australia and especially of the reputation of the medical school.

It is also a proof that research and innovation are top priorities of the various organisations involved in scientific work.

Twelve famous Australians received the prestigious Nobel awards, eleven for science and one for literature. The prize in literature went to novelist Patrick White in 1973.

Seven of the eleven prizes awarded to scientists were for physiology or medicine. The latest prize went to Brian Schmidt in 2011 and the previous one to Elizabeth Blackburn in 2009.

Professor Brian Schmidt, of the Australian National University shared the 2011 Nobel prize in physics together with two American researchers. Born in the USA, Schmidt relocated Down Under in the 1990s and calls Australia home.

Working as an astronomer at the Mt Stromlo Observatory near Canberra, the distinguished professor found out that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate, which can imply that it is on a never ending growth trajectory. And all that because of some bizarre dark energy. The theory was actually put forward by Albert Einstein, so Professor Schmidt demonstrated what his illustrious forerunner suggested.

Born and educated in Australia, Elizabeth Blackburn is currently a biology researcher at the University of California in San Francisco. Among the many distinctions that acknowledged her career, she received an Australia Prize in 1998 for her contribution to molecular science.

The other famous people from Australia who won the Nobel award for scientific research are:

  • Father and son William and Lawrence Bragg for physics in 1915;
  • Howard Florey, in 1945 for the discovery of penicillin together with Alexander Fleming and Ernest Chain;
  • Frank Macfarlane Burnet, for his work in immunology, in 1960;
  • Neurophysiologist John Carew Eccles, in 1963 for his research on brain and synaptic transmission;
  • John Warcup Cornforth, for chemistry in 1975;
  • Peter Doherty, for his achievements in the field of the immune system, in 1996;
  • Barry Marshall and Robin Warren for the discovery of a bacterium that causes ulcer and the innovations to the treatment of this disease, in 2005.

With the twelve Nobel awards, Australia can boast one laureat for every two million people or less, which is quite impressive.





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