List of Indian Nobel laureates

Picture of Rabindranath Tagore, the first Indian Nobel Laureate.
Rabindranath Tagore was the first person of Indian origin and also first Asian to be awarded with the Nobel Prize.[1] He received the prize for Literature in 1913.

The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards bestowed on "those who conferred the greatest benefit on humankind" in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Peace and Economic Sciences,[A][2] instituted by Alfred Nobel's last will, which specified that a part of his fortune be used to create the prizes. Each laureate (recipient) receives a gold medal, a diploma and a sum of money, which is decided annually by the Nobel Foundation.[3] The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; the Swedish Academy awards the Nobel Prize in Literature; and the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize. They are widely recognized as one of the most prestigious honours awarded in the aforementioned fields.[4]

First instituted in 1901, a total of 904 individuals (852 men and 52 women) and 24 organizations were awarded the Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2018.[5] Among the total recipients, 12 are Indians (five Indian citizens and seven of Indian origin or residency). Rabindranath Tagore was the first Indian citizen to be awarded and Mother Teresa is the only woman among the list of recipients.[6] Notably, Sri Aurobindo, the Indian poet, philosopher, nationalist and developer of integral yoga, was nominated unsuccessfully for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1943 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.[7][8]

On 1 December 1999, the Norwegian Nobel Committee confirmed that Mahatma Gandhi was nominated unsuccessfully for the Peace Prize five times (from 1937 to 1939, in 1947 and a few days before he was assassinated in January 1948).[9] In 2006, Geir Lundestad, the Secretary of Norwegian Nobel Committee, cited it as "the greatest omission in our 106-year history".[10][11][12]

Laureates

Indian citizens

The following are the Nobel laureates who were Indian citizens at the time they were awarded the Nobel Prize.[13][B]

Year Laureate Field Rationale Ref.
1913 Portrait of Rabindranath Tagore taken in 1909 Rabindranath Tagore Literature "Because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West." [15]
1930 Portrait of Sir CV Raman C. V. Raman Physics "For his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him." [16]
1979 Portrait of Mother Teresa captured in 1994 Mother Teresa
[C]
Peace "in recognition of [her] work in bringing help to suffering humanity" [17]
1998 Picture of Amartya Sen Amartya Sen Economic Sciences "For his contributions to welfare economics." [18]
2014 Photograph of Kailash Satyarthi Kailash Satyarthi
[D]
Peace "For their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education." [19]

Overseas citizens of Indian origin

The following are not Indians, but rather Nobel laureates born in British India or laureates who are of Indian origin but subsequently non-citizens of India; however, they are still often included in lists of Indian Nobel laureates.

Year Laureate Country of residence Field Rationale Ref.
1968 Picture of Har Gobind Khorana Har Gobind Khorana [E]  United States
(born in Raipur, British India, now Pakistan)
Physiology or Medicine "For their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis." [20]
1983 Picture of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar  United States
(born in Lahore, British India, now Pakistan)
Physics "For his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars." [21]
2009 Picture of Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Venkatraman Ramakrishnan  United Kingdom /  United States
(born in Chidambaram, India)
Chemistry "For studies of the structure and function of the ribosome." [22]

Other

The following are Nobel laureates with Indian linkages – foreigners who were born in India, those who are of Indian ancestry and those who were residents in India when they became recipients of the Nobel Prize.

Year Laureate Country of residence Field Rationale Ref.
1902 Portrait of Ronald Ross Ronald Ross  United Kingdom
(born in Almora, British India)
Physiology or Medicine "For his work on malaria, by which he has shown how it enters the organism and thereby has laid the foundation for successful research on this disease and methods of combating it." [23]
1907 Portrait of Rudyard Kipling Rudyard Kipling  United Kingdom
(born in Bombay, British India)
Literature "In consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author." [24]
1989 Picture of Dalai Lama 14th Dalai Lama  India
(born in Taktser, Tibet)
Peace "For his consistent resistance to the use of violence in his people’s struggle to regain their liberty." [25]
2001 Picture of Dalai Lama V. S. Naipaul  United Kingdom
(born in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago)
Literature "For having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories." [26]