Nobel Laureates

  • Sir William Ramsay (1852–1916)
    Principal and Professor of Chemistry at University College, Bristol (later the University of Bristol) from 1880 to 1887. The Nobel Prize 1904 ‘in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air, and his determination of their place in the periodic system’.
  • Paul Dirac (1902–84)
    Graduated from Bristol with a BSc (Engineering) in 1921, then studied mathematics at Bristol for a further two years.
    The Nobel Prize in Physics 1933 (1/2 share) ‘for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory’.
  • Cecil Frank Powell (1903–69)
    At Bristol from 1927, first as Research Assistant to A M Tyndall, then appointed lecturer and, in 1948, established as Melville Wills Professor of Physics.
    The Nobel Prize in Physics 1950 ‘for his development of the photographic method of studying nuclear processes and his discoveries regarding mesons made with this method’.
  • Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1965)
    Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 1929 until 1965.
    The Nobel Prize for Literature 1953 was awarded to Sir Winston Churchill, 'for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values'.
  • Dorothy Hodgkin (1910–94)
    Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 1970 until 1988.
    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1964 was awarded to Dorothy Hodgkin, 'for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances'.
  • Hans Albrecht Bethe (1906–2005)
    Held a fellowship at the University of Bristol in 1934.
    The Nobel Prize in Physics 1967 ‘for his contribution to the theory of nuclear reactions, especially his discoveries concerning the energy production in stars’.
  • Max Delbrück (1906-81)
    Research worker at the University in 1930-32.
    The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1969 (1/3 share) for discoveries concerning 'the replication mechanism and genetic structure of viruses'.
  • Gerhard Herzberg (1904-99)
    Carried out postdoctoral work at the University in 1929-30.
    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1971 'for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals'.
  • Sir Nevill Francis Mott (1905–96)
    Chair in theoretical physics at Bristol from 1933, then, after a period of military research in London during the war, head of the Bristol physics department.
    The Nobel Prize in Physics 1977 (1/3 share) for 'fundamental theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems’.
  • Sir Paul Nurse (b.1949)
    Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 2017.
    The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2001 (1/3 share) for 'discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle’.
  • Harold Pinter (1930–2008)
    Playwright. Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Bristol, 1998.
    The Nobel Prize for Literature 2005 was awarded to Harold Pinter, ‘who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms’.
  • Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio (b.1940)
    Writer. Studied English at Bristol, 1958-9.
    The Nobel Prize for Literature 2008 was awarded to Le Clézio, ‘author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization’.
  • Angus Deaton (b.1945)
    Professor of Econometrics at Bristol from 1976 until 1983.
    The Nobel Prize in Economics 2015 was awarded to Angus Deaton 'for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare'.
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