Moungi Bawendi of France, Louis Brus of the United States, and Russian-born Alexei Ekimov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday for their work on quantum dots.
The trio, whose names were disclosed in the Swedish press before of the announcement, were successful in making these tiny components, which “now spread their light from televisions and LED lamps, and can also guide surgeons when they remove tumour tissue, among many other things,” according to the jury.
The beneficiaries’ names had previously been revealed by Swedish media, with numerous outlets claiming to have received a press statement from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences naming the three US-based chemists – hours before the academy ever met to vote on the winners.
Speaking to reporters, Bawendi stated that he was “shocked” by the news and had not seen the leaked information.
Nobel leaks are uncommon, with the individual academies going to great measures to keep the winners’ names hidden until the announcements.
Bawendi, 62, is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States. He was born in Paris to French and Tunisian parents.
Brus, 80, is a professor at Columbia in New York, and Russian-born Alexei Ekimov works at the US-based Nanocrystals Technology.
The trio will receive the $1 million reward from King Carl XVI Gustaf during a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of physicist Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896, who established the prizes in his will and testament.
The chemistry prize is the third of the season, after the announcements of the medicine and physics prizes earlier in the week.
Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman, RNA researchers, were honored Monday for their innovative technique that cleared the door for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
The physics prize was awarded on Tuesday to Pierre Agostini of France, Ferenc Krausz of Hungary, and Anne L’Huillier of France for their work utilizing ultra-fast light flashes to examine electrons inside atoms and molecules.
The prestigious literature and peace prizes will be awarded on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
The Economics Prize, established in 1968 and the only Nobel Prize not included in the will of Swedish inventor and philanthropist Alfred Nobel, who founded the prizes in 1895, concludes the 2023 Nobel season on Monday.