Need a bit of motivation before starting university? We’ve put together some of the most inspirational quotes from prominent Nobel Prize winners who bear distinction in various fields, from physics and medicine to literature and peace activism. Scroll to the end to enjoy a beautiful slideshare of inspirational quotes, or keep reading for a short introduction to each of these Nobel Prize winners and the education they received…
1. Murray Gell-Mann (1929-)
An American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1969 for his work on the theory of elementary particle, Murray Gell-Mann earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Yale University in 1948, and a PhD in physics from MIT in 1951. He was a visiting research professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign from 1952 to 1953, a visiting associate professor at Columbia University and an associate professor at the University of Chicago in 1954–55.
2. Frank Anthony Wilczek (1951-)
An American physicist and mathematician born in Mineola, New York, in 1951, Frank Anthony Wilczek received his BSc in Mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1970, followed by a master’s degree and a PhD in physics at Princeton University. Wilczek holds the Herman Feshbach Professorship of Physics at MIT Center for Theoretical Physics. In 2004, along with colleagues David Gross and H. David Politzer, Wilczek received the Nobel Prize in Physics, for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction.
3. Linus Pauling (1901-1994)
American chemist, peace activist and author, Linus Pauling made important advances in medical research and was one of the founders of the fields of molecular biology and quantum chemistry. He received his PhD in physical chemistry and mathematics physics from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1925. He is the only person to have received two unshared Nobel Prizes: the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1954) and the Nobel Peace Prize (1962).
4. John Steinbeck (1902-1968)
American novelist John Steinbeck is best-known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, which portrays the plight of migrant workers during the Great Depression. Steinbeck studied English Literature at Stanford University, but left without graduating in 1925. His most notable works include Of Mice and Men (1937), The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952). In 1962, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his “realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception.”
5. Charles K. Kao (1933-)
Chinese-born Charles Kuen Kao is known as the “father of fiber optic communications”. He obtained a BSc in electrical engineering in the UK at Woolwich Polytechnic (now the University of Greenwich), going on to pursue research, and received a PhD in electrical engineering in 1965 from University College London (UCL). He was Vice-Chancellor (President) of the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1987 to 1996. Kao later spent a six-month sabbatical leave at Imperial College London’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. In 2009, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his “groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication”.
6. John Galsworthy (1867-1933)
English novelist and playwright John Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932 “for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga”, published between 1906 and 1921. He studied law at New College, University of Oxford, and was elected as an honorary fellow in 1926. Over the course of his lifetime, Galsworthy earned honorary degrees from the Universities of St Andrews (1922), Manchester (1927), Dublin (1929), Cambridge (1930), Sheffield (1930), Oxford (1931) and Princeton (1931).
7. Henry A. Kissinger (1923-)
American diplomat Henry A. Kissinger served as US secretary of state under Richard Nixon, winning the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for the Vietnam War accords. He studied accounting at City College of New York until 1943, when he was drafted into the US Army, and later returned to complete a bachelor’s in political science at Harvard University, gaining his MA and PhD in 1951 and 1954 respectively.
8. Alexander Fleming (1881-1955)
Scottish doctor Alexander Fleming discovered one of the most famous antibiotics, penicillin. This drug transformed the way disease was treated and Fleming’s name was written forever in medical history. In 1945 Fleming, Chain and Florey were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Fleming earned his MBBS degree with distinction from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in 1906. He was elected Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology at the University of London in 1948, and in 1951 became Rector of the University of Edinburgh for a term of three years.
9. Edward Victor Appleton (1892-1965)
English physicist Edward Victor Appleton won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1947 for proving the existence of the ionosphere and contributing to the understanding of radio wave propagation. He was a professor of physics at King’s College London (1924–36) and professor of natural philosophy at the University of Cambridge (1936–39). From 1949 and until his death in 1965, he was Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Edinburgh.
10. Kofi Annan (1938-)
Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006. In 2001, Annan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, jointly with the United Nations as a whole. He completed a DEA degree in international relations at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, and later studied at MIT Sloan School of Management (1971–72) in the Sloan Fellows Program, earning a Masters in Management.