Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The benefits of Nobel Prizes


There is an urgent need to rethink the Nobel Prize in Physics in the light of the climate crisis. As expressed by its founder, the award should acknowledge research that addresses pressing challenges for humanity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere during the last 2,000 years.


  1. Full text of Alfred Nobel’s will. (2022).

  2. All Nobel Prizes in Physics. (2022).

  3. Forster, P. et al. in Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (eds Solomon, S. et al.) Ch. 2 (IPCC, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007).

  4. Advanced information on the Nobel Prize in Physics 2000 (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 2000);

  5. Heber, J. Nat. Phys. 10, 791 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Masson-Delmotte, V. et al. (eds) Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis (IPCC, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2021).

  7. Global and European Temperatures (European Environment Agency, 2022);

  8. The Keeling Curve (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego);

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Doris Vollmer.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Vollmer, D., Bednarz, R.JR., Seiffert, S. et al. The benefits of Nobel Prizes. Nat. Phys. (2022).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing