The question of when a Nobel Prize winner is Austrian is not that easy to answer.
The Nobel Prize in Physics for the Austro-Hungarian physicist Ferenc Krausz is another of these coveted awards for an Austrian, just one year after Anton Zeilinger’s award. But how many? If the dual citizen, who carried out significant research in Vienna, had been born in Austria, it would be the 20th Nobel Prize for Austria. But the question of when a Nobel Prize winner is Austrian is not that easy to answer.
Place of birth, citizenship or place of activity produce different results depending on the counting method – each of which is problematic, as the example of the laureates expelled from their homeland by the Nazis shows.
The Nobel Prize Committee itself compiled a list of nationalities a few years ago and decided to use place of birth. The decisive factor was the name of the country at the time of birth of the respective laureate – not insignificant for many Nobel Prize winners born in the Danube Monarchy. This list has now disappeared from the official Nobel Prize homepage. Accordingly, Ferenc Krausz’s Nobel Prize would be attributed to Hungary, as he was born on May 17, 1962 in Mór (Hungary) and studied electrical engineering at the Budapest Technical University. However, he received his doctorate in 1991 at the Technical University of Vienna, where he completed his habilitation in 1993 and became a full professor in 1999. It was also the TU Vienna where he carried out some of his most important work.
With last year’s Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Anton Zeilinger, 19 Nobel Prize winners were born within the borders of what is now Austria, or a total of 32 in an area that was part of Austria at the time of their birth. Seven Nobel Prize winners were working at an Austrian university or research institution at the time of the award ceremony, which does not apply to Krausz – he works at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching and the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. Another special case is the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 and is based in Vienna.
In addition to Zeilinger, the Nobel Prize winners in physics Erwin Schrödinger, Viktor F. Hess, Wolfgang Pauli, the Nobel Prize winners in chemistry Richard Kuhn, Max F. Perutz, Walter Kohn, Richard Zsigmondy, Martin Karplus, and the Nobel Prize winner in medicine Robert were born in the area of today’s Austria Barany, Julius Wagner-Jauregg, Karl Landsteiner, Karl von Frisch, Konrad Lorenz, Eric Kandel, the Nobel Prize winners for Literature Elfriede Jelinek and Peter Handke, Nobel Peace Prize winner Alfred Fried and Economics Laureate Friedrich August von Hayek.
There are also prize winners like Bertha von Suttner or Fritz Pregl, who are seen as “Austrian Nobel Prize winners” due to their focus of activity, but whose place of birth was in the area of the ex-Danube Monarchy.
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