Nobel Laureates

U of T professors

U of T Alumni

Sir Frederick Banting and Professor J.J.R. Macleod were the first in Canada to win a Nobel Prize. This was the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded for their pioneering work with Charles Best in the isolation of insulin, a discovery that revolutionized the treatment of diabetes.In 1923, Banting (top, left) was the Banting and Best Chair of Medical Research at the University of Toronto as well as Honorary Consulting Physician to the Toronto General Hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children and the Toronto Western Hospital. Banting shared his part of the prize amount with his younger coworker Charles Best. Macleod was Professor of Physiology and Director of the Physiology Laboratory at the University of Toronto at the time he received the Nobel Prize. The Right Honourable Lester Bowles Pearson was awarded the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize for his untiring efforts to prevent or stop conflict in the world.Pearson received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto (Victoria College). He was also a member of the academic staff of the Department of History from 1924 to 1928. He served as Canada’s Prime Minister from 1963 to 1968.
Professor John Charles Polanyi was one of three winners of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry in recognition of the development of the new field of reaction dynamics. He was cited for his pioneering work in developing the method of infrared chemiluminescence. Polanyi has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry since 1956 and was honoured with the title of University Professor in 1974. Professor Arthur L. Schawlow was one of three winners of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy while he was a faculty member at Stanford University. Schawlow received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Toronto (Victoria College) and went on to earn a master’s degree from U of T in 1942 and a doctorate in 1949. In 1944, he taught classes to armed service personnel at U of T.
Professor James Orbinski accepted the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Doctors Without Borders/Médicins sans Frontières. The organization was recognized for its pioneering humanitarian work on several continents. Orbinski was MSF’s president from 1998 to 2001. Orbinski is currently a faculty member in the department of public health science and senior fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. He is also a research scientist and clinician at St. Michael’s Hospital. He received a master’s degree in international relations from U of T. Bertram BrockhouseProfessor Bertram N. Brockhouse was co-winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering contributions to the development of neutron scattering techniques for studies of condensed matter. He developed the neutron spectrometer and was one of the first to measure the phonon dispersion curve of a solid. Brockhouse obtained both a master’s degree (1948) and doctorate (1950) in physics from the University of Toronto.
Oliver Smithies by Mapos (Markus Pössel)Professor Oliver Smithies was one of three joint winners of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the discoveries of “principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells.”Smithies spent the seven years from 1953 to 1960 working at Connaught Medical Laboratory at the University of Toronto. He credits early observations of gene duplication made at that time as leading to what has been recognized by the Nobel Foundation. Photo by Robert Scoble from Half Moon Bay, USAMichael A. Spence was one of three joint winners of the 2001 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for his contributions to analyses of market with asymmetrical information.Spence received his middle and high school education at the University of Toronto School and remembers both his teachers and fellow students as being both excellent and a liberating force.
kohnWalter Kohn is a co-winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in chemistry. He and John Pople were awarded the Nobel Prize for their development of the density-functional theory, a computational quantum mechanical modelling method used in physics, chemistry and materials science.  Dr. Kohn received a BA in Mathematics and Physics and an MA in Applied Mathematics from the University of Toronto.

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