[Prelims Spotlight]Nobel and other Prizes

1.PM conferred with Seoul Peace Prize

About the Seoul Peace Prize

  1. The prize has been awarded to those who have made their mark through contributions to the harmony of mankind, reconciliation between nations and to world peace.
  2. Established in 1990, the Seoul Peace Prize was an effort to crystallise the Korean people’s yearning for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of the world.
  3. It was initially established to commemorate the success of the 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul, Republic of Korea – an event in which 160 nations from across the world took part, creating harmony and friendship and a worldwide atmosphere of peace and reconciliation.
  4. Previous winners of the award include former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and renowned international relief organizations like Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.

2.UN Interagency Task Force (UNIATF) Award

Shri Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary & Mission Director (NHM), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has been conferred with the prestigious UNIATF Award for his outstanding contribution towards prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and related SDGs.

United Nations Interagency Task Force (UNIATF)

  1. The UNIATF on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases was established by the UN Secretary-General in June 2013 and placed under the leadership of WHO.
  2. It aims to support governments, in particular in low- and middle-income countries, to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease.
  3. Following the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, UNIATF’s scope of work was expanded in 2016 to include “NCD related SDGs” – i.e. mental health, violence and injuries, nutrition, and environmental issues that impact on NCDs.
  4. The World Health Organization acts as a Secretariat and lead for the Task Force.
  5. The UNIATF coordinates the activities of relevant UN organizations and other inter-governmental organizations to support Governments to meet high-level commitments to respond to NCD epidemics worldwide.
  6. The Task Force reports once a year to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

3.Nobel Prize in Medicine

  • The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been jointly awarded to James P. Allison from the US and Tasuku Honjo from Japan.
  • By stimulating the inherent ability of our immune system to attack tumor cells Nobel Laureates established an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.
  • Tasuku Honjo discovered a protein on immune cells and revealed that it also operates as a break, but with a different mechanism of action.

4.Nobel Prize in Physics

  • Three scientists Arthur Ashkin of the U.S., Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada won the Nobel Physics Prize.
  • Mr. Ashkin, 96, was honored for his invention of “optical tweezers” that grab particles, atoms, viruses and other living cells with their laser beam fingers.
  • In 1987 Mr. Ashkin used the tweezers to capture living bacteria without harming them.
  • Mr. Mourou and Ms. Strickland won for helping develop a method to generate ultra-short optical pulses, “the shortest and most intense laser pulses ever created by mankind”.
  • Mrs. Strickland is the third women ever and the first woman in 55 years to receive the prestigious award.
  • Their technique is now used in corrective eye surgery and in making surgical stents. Recently, attosecond lasers have even made it possible to observe individual electrons.

5.Nobel Prize in Chemistry

  • Ms. Frances Arnold US, Mr. George Smith, both from the US and Mr. Gregory Winter of Britain were awarded the prize for pioneering science in enzymes and antibodies.
  • For the first time, scientists harnessed the power of evolution to produce novel proteins used in everything from environmentally friendly detergents and biofuels to cancer drugs.
  • Ms. Arnold is the fifth woman to win a chemistry Nobel. Her research on enzymes led to the development of better industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

6.Nobel Peace Prize

  • Who is awarded?
    • “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” (Excerpt from the will of Alfred Nobel)
  • The Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 has been awarded to Congolese gynecologist Dr. Denis Mukwege and Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
  • Dr. Denis Mukwege has helped in the treatment of women who were raped by rebels during the civil war in Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Ms. Murad is one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by the Islamic State.

7.Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences


  • William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, from the US, won the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize for work in integrating climate change and technological innovation into economic analysis,
  • William D. Nordhaus was awarded for integrating climate change into the long-run macroeconomic analysis.
  • William Nordhaus was the first person to create a quantitative model that described the interplay between the economy and the climate.
  • Paul M. Romer integrated technological innovations into the long-run macroeconomic analysis.


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