Research Group Prize studies

The Nobel Prize is the most prestigious benchmark of scientific excellence in our time. It is used for ranking universities and gauging the scientific reputation of whole nations. This makes it the ideal example for investigating the mechanisms of scientific recognition. Our research group looks at the Nobel Prize and other major scientific awards to study how excellence is enacted, how, in other words, particular achievements in medicine were selected and acknowledged as the most excellent in the field. The work will offer new perspectives on scientific reward mechanisms and the role of credit and priority in science and medicine. Currently, we have three branches:

1. Our doctoral students (Dr. med. or Dr. med. dent.) research prize cultures in different medical disciplines: Marie Drobietz (cardiology – completed Dr. med. 2022), Michael Wiling (pharmacology- – completed Dr. med. 2022), Lotte Palmen (neurology), Lena Hense (dental medicine), Elisa Malik (pathology) and Leander Scheel (medicine and peace).

2. Gender Award Gap: In cooperation with scholars at the Centre for Health and Society at the Heinrich-Heine-University, we study why women receive fewer and less prestigious scientific awards than men [] Twitter:@Genderawardgap

3. Together with international scholars, we arrange yearly symposia about (Nobel) prize cultures in different countries and universities, such as in Berlin, Charité (2017), Cambridge, Harvard Medical School (2018), Berne, Berne University (2019), Montreal, McGill University (2019), Vienna, Austrian Academy of Sciences (2021), Rome, Sapienza (2022), Leiden, Boerhaave Museum (2023). Volumes from these meetings include

Hansson N, Schlich T. (eds of special issue) Beyond the Nobel Prize: scientific recognition and awards in North America since 1900. Notes & Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science (2023)

Hansson N. Wie man keinen Nobelpreis gewinnt - Die vergessenen Helden der Medizingeschichte. Gräfe & Unzer [Okt.] 2023

Hansson N, Angetter-Pfeiffer D. (Hg) Laureaten und Verlierer: Der Nobelpreis und die Hochschulmedizin in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2021

Hansson N, Halling T, Fangerau H. (Eds). Attributing Excellence in Medicine: The History of the Nobel Prize. Brill 2019


Selection of articles by doctoral students and the research group:

Malik E, Baumann T, Fangerau H, Hansson N. Franz Büchners Hypoxieforschung aus der Kriegszeit und der Nobelpreis. Pathologie 2023; 44:63-69 (open access)

Hansson N, Schlich T. Performing Excellence: Nobel Prize nomination networks in North America. Notes & Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science (2023)

Hense N, Hugger A, Hansson N. Excellence in dental research: nominated scholars for the Nobel Prize 1901-1950 with a focus on Lady May Mellanby (1882-1978) and Walter Hess (1885-1980). Br Dent J 2022;232(11):825-829. doi: 10.1038/s41415-022-3996-1.

Hansson N, Padrini G, Moll FH, Halling T, Timmermann C. Why so few Nobel Prizes for cancer researchers? An analysis of Nobel Prize nominations for German physicians with a focus on Ernst von Leyden and Karl Heinrich Bauer. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2021 Sep;147(9):2547-2553 doi: 10.1007/s00432-021-03671-x

Drobietz M, Loerbroks A, Hansson N. Who is who in cardiovascular research? What a review of Nobel Prize nominations reveals about scientific trends. Clin Res Cardiol. doi: 10.1007/s00392-021-01813-2.

Hansson N, Palmen L, Padrini G, Karenberg A. Babinski, Bektherev, Cerletti, Head, and Hitzig: European Neurologists Nominated for the Nobel Prize 1901-1950. European Neurology 2020 online first, open access

Pohar M, Hansson N. The "Nobel Population" in Pharmacology: Nobel Prize laureates, nominees and nominators 1901-1953 with a focus on B. Naunyn and O. Schmiedeberg. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2020; 393: 1173-1185. doi: 10.1007/s00210-019-01807-y.

Hansson N.Anmerkungen zur wissenschaftshistorischen Nobelpreisforschung. Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 2018;41(1): 7-18.

Hansson N, Fangerau H, Tuffs A, Polianski I. No Silver Medal for Nobel Prize Contenders – Why Anesthesia Pioneers Were Nominated for But Denied the Award. Anesthesiology 2016;125(1):34-8.

Hansson N, Packy LM, Halling T, Groß D, Fangerau H.Vom Nobody zum Nobelpreisträger? Der Fall Werner Forßmann. Urologe 2015;3:412-419.

Hansson N, Schagen U.  „In Stockholm hatte man offenbar irgendwelche Gegenbewegung”– Ferdinand Sauerbruch (1875-1951) und der Nobelpreis. NTM 2014;22(3):133-61.


Contact:, Twitter: @hanssonhist


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