Why are most of the Nobel Prize winners white men?

German Nobel Prize Laureates

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen: Nobel Prize in Physics 1901

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923) was the first scientist in the world to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics. He was honored in 1901 for the discovery of the rays that revolutionized medicine and were later named after him. He received the recognition six years after he discovered X-rays.

In spite of the Nobel Prize, Röntgen was unable to publish a doctoral thesis; despite two university degrees, he never received approval for it. The bureaucratic obstacle: Röntgen did not have a high school diploma.

Robert Koch: Nobel Prize in Physiology / Medicine 1905

The Nobel Committee awarded the doctor Robert Koch (1843-1910) the award for investigations in the field of tuberculosis research. The decisive discovery was also a few years ago.

As early as 1881 he found the tuberculosis bacillus, which enabled him to develop a remedy. A year later, Robert Koch also discovered the causative agent of cholera. With his research on bacteria as pathogens, he laid the foundation for the fight against infectious diseases.

Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (1858 to 1947): Nobel Prize in Physics 1918

With his discovery of quantum energy, physics took a leap into the future: Max Planck (1858-1947) received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918, and in 1900 he summarized his theory in a simple publication of just nine pages.

With his findings, Planck forced the physicists to radically rethink: Einstein developed his new theory of light. Max Planck became president of the "Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science" in 1930, and one year after his death it was renamed the "Max Planck Society".

Albert Einstein (1879 to 1955): Nobel Prize in Physics 1921

e = mc² - this formula made Albert Einstein (1879-1955) world famous. However, he did not receive the Nobel Prize for his theory of relativity, but for the discovery of the photoelectric effect. This theory of light is one of the most fundamental contributions to quantum theory.

Albert Einstein had to wait a long time for his work to be recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee. The reason: In most of his studies, the practical benefit is not foreseeable. In 1921 Einstein finally received the award.

Thomas Mann (1875 to 1955): Nobel Prize for Literature 1929

The writer became famous with his first novel "Die Buddenbrooks". The story of a Hanseatic merchant family, published in 1901, made Thomas Mann (1875-1955) world famous. The Nobel Prize, however, refers to the entire life work of Mann, with works such as "Death in Venice" (1912) and "The Magic Mountain" (1924).

Political developments in Germany influenced Mann's life and work: in 1930, one year after receiving the Nobel Prize, Thomas Mann published the novella "Mario and the Magician", which symbolically describes the beginning of fascism in those years.

In 1933 Mann emigrated to Switzerland and later to the United States out of "deeply necessary political protest".

Willy Brandt (1913 to 1992): Nobel Peace Prize 1971

Willy Brandt (1913-1992) campaigned for a relaxation of the East-West conflict for years. The former Chancellor was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971. The so-called Eastern Treaties with the GDR, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia and in particular the reconciliation with Poland after the Second World War were due to him.

With his political line he was, so to speak, a pioneer of a united Europe. After Gustav Stresemann, Ludwig Quidde and Carl von Ossietzky, Willy Brandt was the fourth German to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by the committee.

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (born 1942): Nobel Prize for Physiology / Medicine 1995

It was not until 94 years after the first Nobel Prize was awarded that a German female scientist was honored for the first time. The biologist and biochemist Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (born 1942) from Magdeburg received the award for research into the fundamental genetic control of embryonic development.

Together with her American colleagues Eric F. Wieschaus and Edward B. Lewis, she used fruit flies to research the genetic control mechanisms by which embryos develop.

Harald zur Hausen (born 1936): Nobel Prize for Physiology / Medicine 2008

The cancer researcher Harald zur Hausen (born 1936) recognized that cervical cancer is caused by viral infections. His research made it possible to develop a vaccine against one of the most common cancers in women. For this he was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Hausen shares the award with the French Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier, who were honored for discovering the HI virus.