Nobel Prize Award for Physiology and Medicine 1916 - 1930

About the winners of the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine from 1916 to 1930 including Banting, Einthoven, what they won for, World War I, as well as behind the scenes information on the decision.

1916 No Award

1917 No Award

Behind the No Award--The award was suspended during W.W. I. In 1917, however, Ross G. Harrison was recommended for the prize for his work in tissue culture, but of course could not receive it. Later, he was again mentioned for a prize, but the committee decided then that his discovery was "too old," and, on 2nd thought, not important enough. Many scientists disagree with that assessment.

1918 No Award

1919 Jules J. P. V. Bordet (1870-1961), Belgian. Work: Discoveries in immunology. Behind the Award--Bordet, like Harrison, had been considered for some time by the committee. had he not had several powerful supporters, he might have been passed over as Harrison was.

1920 Schack August S. Krogh (1874-1949), Danish. Work: Discovery of how blood-capillary action is regulated.

1921 No Award

1922 Archibald V. Hill (1886- ), English. Work: Discoveries concerning heat production through muscular activity.

Otto F. Meyerhof (1894-1951), American (b. Germany). Work: Finding the correlation between the lactic acid and oxygen in the muscles.

1923 Frederick G. Banting (1891-1941), Canadian.

John J. R. Macleod (1876-1935), Canadian. Work: Discovery of insulin.

Behind the Award--There was a big feud when these 2 shared the prize. Banting said that when he made his discovery, Macleod had not even been in the laboratory. Therefore, Banting gave half his prize money to another doctor who had been present in the laboratory. Macleod, who had participated in earlier research, countered by giving half of his winnings to someone who had worked with him.

1924 Willem Einthoven (1860-1927), Dutch. Work: Invention of the electrocardiograph.

Behind the Award--The committee was somewhat reluctant to award a prize in Medicine and Physiology to an inventor. They thought he might more logically receive the prize in Physics. However, Einthoven proved himself worthy by showing the valuable results of the electrocardiogram's clinical use.

1925 No Award

1926 Johannes A. G. Fibiger (1867-1928), Danish. Work: Cancer research.

Behind the Award--Another goof by the committee. The conclusions Fibiger drew from his research were all wrong. Twice burned, the committee was very cautious after this. It wasn't until 1966 that it made another award for cancer research, even though there were several breakthroughs during the interval.

1927 Julius Wagner-Jauregg (1857-1940), Austrian. Work: Discovery of the use of malaria to combat paralysis.

1928 Charles J. H. Nicolle (1866-1936), French. Work: Research on typhus.

1929 Christiaan Eijkman (1858-1930), Dutch. Work: Discovery of Vitamin B.

Frederick G. Hopkins (1861-1947), English. Work: Discovery of vitamin A.

1930 Karl Landsteiner (1868-1943), American (b. Austria). Work: Discovering human blood groups.

Behind the Award--In discovering human blood groups, Landsteiner revolutionized blood transfusion and influenced serology and immunochemistry. Later, he and A. S. Weiner discovered the Rh factor, which can cause fatal blood incompatibility in newborns.

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