Nobel Prize Winners, State of Washington

  • By Staff
  • Posted 12/28/2012
  • Essay 10012

This is a list of Nobel Prize winners associated with the state of Washington, through 2016: 

2016:  David J. Thouless (b. 1934) -- Nobel Prize in Physics for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter. Born in United Kingdom, received PhD at Cornell University in 1958. Professor emeritus at the University of Washington at time of award.

2012:  David J. Wineland (b. 1944) -- Nobel Prize in Physics for research on experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems. Postdoctoral research associate at University of Washington with Hans Dehmelt ca. 1972.

2004: Linda B. Buck (b. 1947) -- Nobel Prize for  Physiology or Medicine, with Richard Axel, for determining the molecular  mechanism of the sense of smell. Born in Seattle, graduate of University of Washington. Currently (2012) with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle.

2004: Irwin Rose (1926-2015)  -- Nobel Prize in Chemistry (along with Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko) for his research in immune defense and proteins. He spent his first undergraduate year at Washington State University and received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2005

2001: Leland H. Hartwell (b. 1939) -- Nobel Prize in Medicine, with Tim Hunt and Paul Nurse, for research on normal and abnormal cell growth. President and director emeritus, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, and  professor of genome sciences, University of Washington.

1994: Martin Rodbell (1925-1998) -- Nobel Prize in Medicine, with Alfred G. Gilman, for discovery that cellular communications involved guanosine triphosphate (GTP). Received Ph.D. in biochemistry at University of Washington, 1954

1993: Douglass North (1920-2015) -- Nobel Prize in Economics, with Robert W. Fogel, for development of "cliometrics," a new method of studying economic history using modern statistical techniques. Professor of economics, University of Washington from 1971 to 1983.

1992: Edwin Krebs  (1918-2009) -- Nobel Prize in Medicine, with Edmond H. Fischer. Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry at University of Washington at time of death

Edmond H. Fischer (b. 1920) -- Nobel Prize in Medicine, with Edwin G. Krebs, for research on the biological and chemical reaction that controls the activities of cell proteins. Teacher and professor at University of Washington since 1953; currently Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry.

1990: William F. Sharpe (b. 1934) -- Nobel Prize in Economics, with Harry M. Markowitz and Merton H. Miller, for development of  the capital asset pricing model, a system to explain the relationship between securities prices, risks, and returns.  Teacher and professor at University of Washington, 1961-1968.

1990: E. Donnall Thomas (1920-2012) -- Nobel Prize in Medicine, with Joseph E. Murray for research on bone marrow transplantation, much of which was conducted at the Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute.

1989: Hans G. Dehmelt (1922-2017) -- Nobel Prize in Physics, with Wolfgang Paul and Norman F. Ramsey, for experiments determining the size of electrons. Teacher, then professor, at University of Washington, beginning in 1955.

1988: George Hitchings (1905-1998) --  Nobel Prize in Medicine, with Gertrude B. Elion and James W. Black, for developing medicines to treat leukemia, herpes, and arthritis. Born in Hoquiam, graduated from University of Washington in 1928.

George Stigler (1911-1991) -- Nobel Prize for Economics for work on economic theory of regulation. Born in Renton, Washington; received B.A. from University of Washington, 1931.

1956: Walter Brattain  (1902-1987) -- Nobel Prize for  physics, with John Bardeen and William Shockley, for invention of transistor. Graduate Queen Anne High School, Seattle; B.S. Whitman College; died in Seattle.


"Nobel Prize," Nobel Prize website accessed December 27, 2012 (; "Notable Names Database," NNDB website accessed December 27, 2012 (; "Nobel Prize in Physics," Nobel Prize website accessed October 6, 2016 (
Note: This essay was updated on October 6, 2016.



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