Skip to main content

All ONR-Sponsored Nobel Laureates


Klaus Hasselmann (Physics, 2021)
For the physical modeling of Earth's climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming.

Robert Wilson and Paul Milgrom (Economics, 2020)
For improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.

Frances Arnold (Chemistry, 2018)

W.E. Moerner (Chemistry, 2014)
For the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.

Arieh Warshel (Chemistry, 2013)
For the development of multi-scale models for complex chemical systems. (More Warshel)

Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov (Physics, 2010)
For groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene. (More Geim, Novoselov)

John L. Hall (Physics, 2005)
For contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the so-called optical frequency comb technique.

  • General applications: Precise measurements; determination of the quantum structure of matter with ever-increasing accuracy, and the ability to further test fundamental theories.
  • Naval application: Precision timekeeping and measurements.

Theodor W. Hansch (Physics, 2005)
For contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the so-called optical frequency comb technique.

  • General applications: Precise measurements; determination of the quantum structure of matter with ever-increasing accuracy, and the ability to further test fundamental theories.
  • Naval application: Precision timekeeping and measurements.

Robert H. Grubbs (Chemistry, 2005)
For development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis.

  • General applications: The development of new drugs and other biologically active compounds, polymeric materials and industrial syntheses
  • Naval application: Improved medical treatments, new drugs, and new ìgreenerî materials.

Richard R. Schrock (Chemistry, 2005)
For development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis.

  • General applications: The development of new drugs and other biologically active compounds, polymeric materials and industrial syntheses
  • Naval application: Improved medical treatments, new drugs, and new ìgreenerî materials.

Paul Lauterbur (Medicine, 2003)
For his discoveries concerning "magnetic resonance imaging"

  • General applications: Medicine
  • Naval application: Naval medicine

John Fenn (Chemistry, 2002)
For the development of methods for identification and structure analyses of biological macromolecules.

  • General applications: Proteomics, pharmaceuticals & medicine
  • Naval application: Chemical sensor technology

Daniel Kahneman (Economics, 2002)
For having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty.

  • General applications: Gaining greater understanding of how people make quick decisions when information is sparse.
  • Naval application: Helping to understand how decisions get made in tense military situations under pressure.

Wolfgang Ketterle (Physics, 2001)
For the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates.

  • General applications: Timekeeping; High bandwidth communications; Atom lasers
  • Naval application: Precision timekeeping; Highly precise geolocation; High bandwidth secure communication

Carl Wieman (Physics, 2001)
For the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates.

  • General applications: Timekeeping; High bandwidth communications; Atom lasers
  • Naval application: Precision timekeeping; Highly precise geolocation; High bandwidth secure communication

Eric Cornell (Physics, 2001)
For the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates.

  • General applications: Timekeeping; High bandwidth communications; Atom lasers
  • Naval application: Precision timekeeping; Highly precise geolocation; High bandwidth secure communication

Eric Kandel (Medicine, 2000)
For discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system.

  • General applications: Neurology
  • Naval application: Biomimetics; Signal processing; Human-machine interface

Hideki Shirakawa (Chemistry, 2000)
For the discovery and development of conductive polymers

  • General applications: Display technologies; Molecular electronics
  • Naval application: Mulitfunctional electronics for intelligent Naval sensors?; Decision support systems; Nanoelectronics

Alan G. MacDiarmid (Chemistry, 2000)
For the discovery and development of conductive polymers

  • General applications: Display technologies; Molecular electronics
  • Naval application: Mulitfunctional electronics for intelligent Naval sensors?; Decision support systems; Nanoelectronics

Alan J. Heeger (Chemistry, 2000)
For the discovery and development of conductive polymers

  • General applications: Display technologies; Molecular electronics
  • Naval application: Mulitfunctional electronics for intelligent Naval sensors?; Decision support systems; Nanoelectronics

Herbert Kromer (Physics, 2000)
For developing semiconductor heterostructures in high-speed- and opto-electronics.

  • General applications: Electronics; Photonics
  • Naval application: Advanced sensors?; Advanced autonomous systems?; Information storage and retrieval; Information transmission

Ahmed Zewail (Chemistry, 1999)

For his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy.

  • General applications: Physical chemistry; Material science
  • Naval application: Materials by design

Daniel C. Tsui (Physics, 1998)

For discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations.

  • General applications: Particle physics
  • Naval application: Quantum computing

Walter Kohn (Chemistry, 1998)
For development of the density-functional theory

  • General applications: Quantum chemistry; Chemcial engineering
  • Naval application: Chemical engineering

Horst L. Störmer (Physics, 1998)
For discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations.

  • General applications: Particle physics
  • Naval application: Quantum computing

William D. Phillips (Physics, 1997)
For development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.

  • General applications: Particle physics; Nanotechnology; Precision timekeeping
  • Naval application: Precision timekeeping; Navigation

Richard E. Smalley (Chemistry, 1996)
For discovery of carbon atoms bound in the form of a ball.

  • General applications: Material science
  • Naval application: Material science

George Olah (Chemistry, 1994)
For his contribution to carbocation chemistry.

  • General applications: Chemical engineering; Organic chemistry; Fuel production
  • Naval application: Chemical engineering; Organic chemistry; Fuel production

John F. Nash Jr. (Economics, 1994)
For pioneering analysis of equilibria in the theory of non-cooperative games.

  • General applications: Modeling economic behavior, resource allocation and networking, behavior in biological/ecological systems, and artificial intelligence.
  • Naval application: Providing a greater understanding of and improving strategic and tactical military decision-making.

Rudolph A. Marcus (Chemistry, 1992)
For contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems.

  • General applications: Chemical engineering; Chemiluminescence; Fuel production; Polymer science
  • Naval application: Material science; Corrosion resistance

Norman F. Ramsey (Physics, 1989)
For contributions of importance for the development of atomic precision spectroscopy

  • General applications: Quantum physics; Communications; Navigation; Nanotechnology
  • Naval application: Space communications; Navigation; Precision timekeeping

Hans Dehmelt (Physics, 1989)
For contributions of importance for the development of atomic precision spectroscopy

  • General applications: Quantum physics; Communications; Navigation; Nanotechnology
  • Naval application: Space communications; Navigation; Precision timekeeping

John C. Polanyi (Chemistry, 1986)
For contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes.

  • General applications: Chemical engineering; Mechanical engineering
  • Naval application: Chemical engineering, Mechanical engineering

Yuan T. Lee (Chemistry, 1986)
For contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes.

  • General applications: Chemical engineering; Mechanical engineering
  • Naval application: Chemical engineering, Mechanical engineering

Dudley Herschbach (Chemistry, 1986)
For contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes.

  • General applications: Chemical engineering; Mechanical engineering
  • Naval application: Chemical engineering, Mechanical engineering

Herbert A. Hauptman (Chemistry, 1985)
For outstanding achievements in the development of direct methods for the determination of crystal structures.

  • General applications: Biochemistry; Chemical engineering
  • Naval application: Biochemistry; Chemical engineering

Jerome Karle (Chemistry, 1985)
For outstanding achievements in the development of direct methods for the determination of crystal structures.

  • General applications: Biochemistry; Chemical engineering
  • Naval application: Biochemistry; Chemical engineering

Gerard Debreu (Economics, 1983)
For having incorporated new analytical methods into economic theory and for his rigorous reformulation of the theory of general equilibrium.

  • General applications: Helping to better understand how supply and demand relate to each other in a market economy or other uncontrolled system.
  • Naval application: How to improve strategic and tactical military decision-making and operations.

William A. Fowler (Physics, 1983)
For theoretical and experimental studies of nuclear reactions of importance in the formation of the chemical elements in the universe.

  • General applications: Cosmology; Nuclear chemistry
  • Naval application: Nuclear chemistry

Kenneth Wilson (Physics, 1982)
For his theory of critical phenomena in connection with phase transitions.

  • General applications: Oceanic and atmospheric science; Particle physics
  • Naval application: Oceanic and atmospheric science; Hydrodynamics

David H Hubel (Medicine, 1981)
For discoveries concerning the "visual system"

  • General applications: Sensory physiology; Developmental physiology
  • Naval application: Human factors engineering

Roald Hoffman (Chemistry, 1981)
For his theory concerning the course of chemical reactions

  • General applications: Biochemistry; Pharmacology; Chemical engineering
  • Naval application: Biochemistry; Chemical engineering; Naval medicine

Nicolas Bloembergen (Physics, 1981)
For his contributions to the development of laser spectroscopy.

  • General applications: Spectroscopy; Atomic physics
  • Naval application: Spectroscopy; Highly accurate timekeeping

Arthur Schawlow (Physics, 1981)
For his contributions to the development of laser spectroscopy.

  • General applications: Spectroscopy; Atomic physics
  • Naval application: Spectroscopy; Highly accurate timekeeping

Herbert C. Brown (Chemistry, 1979)
For his development of the use of boron-containing compounds into important reagents in the organic synthesis.

  • General applications: Organic chemistry and biochemistry; Chemical engineering
  • Naval application: Chemical engineering

Herbert Simon (Economics, 1978)
For his pioneering research into the decision-making process within economic organizations.

  • General applications: Management theory and technique; Organization sociology; Cybernetics
  • Naval application: Management practices; Organizational behavior; Cybernetics

Peter Mitchell (Chemistry, 1978)
For his contribution to the understanding of biological energy transfer through the formulation of the chemiosmotic theory.

  • General applications: Chemical engineering; Cell biology; Molecular biology
  • Naval application: Chemical engineering; Naval medicine; Material science

William Lipscomb (Chemistry, 1976)
For his studies on the structure of boranes illuminating problems of chemical bonding.

  • General applications: Chemical engineering
  • Naval application: Chemical engineering

Paul J. Flory (Chemistry, 1974)
For fundamental achievements, both theoretical and experimental, in the physical chemistry of macromolecules.

  • General applications: Polymer chemistry; Molecular biology
  • Naval application: Advanced composite materials

Christian Anfinsen (Chemistry, 1972)
For work on ribonuclease, especially concerning the connection between the amino acid sequence and the biologically active conformation.

  • General applications: Virology; Biotechnology
  • Naval application: Naval medicine; DNA computers?

Robert Schrieffer (Physics, 1972)
For a theory of superconductivity

  • General applications: Transportation; Electrical engineering; Computer science
  • Naval application: Electrical engineering; Computer science

Leon Cooper (Physics, 1972)
For a theory of superconductivity

  • General applications: Transportation; Electrical engineering; Computer science
  • Naval application: Electrical engineering; Computer science

Gerald Edelman (Medicine, 1972)
For discoveries concerning the chemical structure of antibodies

  • General applications: Immunology; Biotechnology
  • Naval application: Naval medicine

Kenneth Arrow (Economics, 1972)
For contributions to general economic equilibrium theory and welfare theory.

  • General applications: Public policy; Management theory
  • Naval application: Management techniques

Har Gobind Khorana (Medicine, 1968)
For devising methods for the synthesis of well-defined nucleic acids.

  • General applications: Virology; Biotechnology
  • Naval application: Naval medicine

George Wald (Medicine, 1967)
For identifying visual pigments and their chemical precursors, and for discovering the primary molecular reaction to light in the eye.

  • General applications: Sensory physiology
  • Naval application: Human factors engineering; Biomimetics; Vision protection

Haldan Hartline (Medicine, 1967)
For explaining impulse coding in the visual receptors and contributions to the understanding of how sensory neuronal networks process data.

  • General applications: Sensory physiology
  • Naval application: Human factors engineering

Hans Bethe (Physics, 1967)
For his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions, especially his discoveries concerning the energy production in stars.

  • General applications: Nuclear chemistry
  • Naval application: Nuclear engineering

Charles H. Townes (Physics, 1964)
For the invention of the maser and the laser.

  • General applications: Communications, surgery, data storage and retrieval, etc.
  • Naval application: Communications; Targeting; Sensor applications; Distance measuring; Ballistic missile defense; Data processing

Georg von Bekesy (Medicine, 1961)
For explaining the physical events that take place within the human ear during hearing.

  • General applications: Audiology
  • Naval application: Hearing protection

Melvin Calvin (Chemistry, 1961)
For explaining the second stage of photosynthesis

  • General applications: Plant physiology; Argonomy; Ecology
  • Naval application: Marine biology

Robert Hofstadter (Physics, 1961)
For pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his thereby achieved discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleons.

  • General applications: Particle physics
  • Naval application: Nuclear engineering

Donald Glaser (Physics, 1960)
For the invention of the bubble chamber, a device for observing the tracks of high energy subatomic particles.

  • General applications: Particle physics
  • Naval application: Hydrodynamic research

Severo Ochoa (Medicine, 1959)
For synthesizing ribonucleic acid.

  • General applications: Virology; Biotechnology
  • Naval application: Naval medicine

Linus Pauling (Chemistry, 1954)
For research into the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex substances.

  • General applications: Modern physical chemistry; modern biochemistry
  • Naval application: All chemical engineering applications: coatings, advances materials, etc.

Felix Bloch (Physics, 1952)
For developing techniques of magnetic measurement in atomic nuclei.

  • General applications: Magnetic resonance imagery
  • Naval application: Naval medicine; nondestructive inspection