Polish Nobel Prize Winners


The Nobel Prize is awarded for outstanding achievements in fields such as literature, science or social activism. The establishment of the prize was the last will of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite. The first award ceremony was held in Stockholm in 1901. Since 1902, the awards have been handed by the king of Sweden, and the ceremony has been held annually on December 10th. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most important and prestigious awards in the world and you can find Poles among other Nobel Prize winners!


1. Maria Skłodowska-Curie, a Polish chemist and physicist, received the Nobel Prize twice and is the only scientist who received the award in two different fields of science. She received the first prize in 1903 in physics, together with her husband, Piotr Curie, for the discovery of polonium. In 1911, Maria received her second award in chemistry for the discovery of radium and her research on radioactivity. 



2. Henryk Sienkiewicz is one of the most famous writers of the 20th century, who wrote to “uplift hearts”. He was a Polish novelist, short-story writer and publicist. Among his greatest works are the “Quo vadis” Trilogy, “The Teutonic Knights” and “In Desert and Wilderness.” He was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for lifetime achievements in 1905. 



3. Władysław Reymont was a Polish novelist, short-story writer and publicist. He also received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1924 for his four-volume epic “The Peasants.” Nagrodę w dziedzinie literatury zdobył także Czesław Miłosz, polski poeta, prozaik, eseista, tłumacz i dyplomata. Nagrodę otrzymał w 1980 roku za całokształt twórczości. Uznano go za dzieła takie jak „Poemat o czasie zastygłym”, „Ocalenie”, „Zniewolony Umysł”, czy „Dolina Issy”. 


4. Czesław Miłosz, a Polish poet, prose writer, essayist, translator and diplomat also won the Nobel Prize in literature. He received the award in 1980 for his lifetime achievements. He was recognised for works such as “Poem of the Frozen Time”, “Ocalenie”, “The Captive Mind”, or “The Issa Valley”. 


5. Lech Wałęsa is a Polish social activist, the leader of a trade union “Solidarity”, and the first Polish president elected in general elections. He is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, which he received in 1983. He was banned from participating in the award ceremony by the Polish authorities, and his wife, Danuta Wałęsa, received the award on his behalf. 



6. Wisława Szymborska, also called the first lady of Polish poetry, was a poet, essayist and translator. Among her most famous volumes are titles such as “Wołanie do Yeti”, “Any Case”, and “The End and the Beginning”. She received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1996 for her lifetime achievements. 



7. Olga Tokarczuk received the Nobel Prize quite recently, in 2019! Tokarczuk is a Polish writer, essayist, poet and screenwriter. She received the award in literature “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”. Her works, such as “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead” and “Flights”, were translated from Polish into English. 

As you can see, Poland is famous not only for the beauty of Masuria, Polish hospitality, famous ski jumpers and footballers, but also for the outstanding achievements of Polish scientists, poets and social activists. We encourage you to read the literary works of our Polish Nobel Prize Winners.