There is no Nobel Prize for mathematics. However, have there been any Nobel Prizes for the use of applied mathematics to model the real world?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, for example google for "John Nash". (Subjective opinion: Nobel prize for economics is effectively a Nobel prize for math.) $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Jun 13, 2020 at 1:11
  • $\begingroup$ @peterh-ReinstateMonica For his work in game theory? It's very interesting stuff. Do you know of any recent journal articles that have been published using his Nobel Prize awarded work? I would enjoy having a read. $\endgroup$
    – M B
    Jun 13, 2020 at 1:23
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe any Nobel prize for physics can be considered as prize for applied mathematics. $\endgroup$ Jun 13, 2020 at 6:39
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    $\begingroup$ The 1979 prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded for the development of the CAT scanner, should count as applied mathematics, too. $\endgroup$ Jun 13, 2020 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ There is no such designation as "applied mathematics" in Nobel prizes. But many prizes for physics, chemistry and economy were really awarded for "applied mathemtics" with applications to physics, chemistry and economy. $\endgroup$ Jun 13, 2020 at 13:05

2 Answers 2


Here is a list of "Mathematicians who were awarded Nobel prize" taken from this paper

1902 Lorentz (Physics)

1904 Rayleigh (Physics)

1911 Wien (Physics)

1918 Planck (Physics)

1921 Einstein (Physics)

1922 Bohr (Physics)

1929 de Broglie (Physics)

1932 Heisenberg (Physics)

1933 Schroedinger (Physics)

1933 Dirac (Physics)

1945 Pauli (Physics)

1950 Russell (Literature)

1954 Born (Physics)

1962 Landau (Physics)

1963 Wigner (Physics)

1965 Schwinger (Physics)

1965 Feynman (Physics)

1969 Tinbergen (Economics)

1975 Kantorovich (Economics)

1983 Chandrasekhar (Physics)

1994 Selten (Economics)

1994 Nash (Economics)

The work of all of them, except Russell qualifies as "applied mathematics".

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    $\begingroup$ I don't agree that "using math to solve a problem" is equivalent to "the field of Applied Mathematics" $\endgroup$ Jun 15, 2020 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Carl Witthoft: then give your definition of "applied mathematics". The work of the listed people is not just "using math", but "developing new math to solve a specific problem of science". And this is my definition of applied math. $\endgroup$ Jun 15, 2020 at 12:21
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    $\begingroup$ For example, Lorenz group was NOT studied by mathematicians before Lorenz, as a pure mathematical object. Same applies to "Feynman integrals". $\endgroup$ Jun 15, 2020 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ Well, at many Universities there's a separate Department Of Applied Mathematics which exists conceptually between Mathematics and Engineering departments. $\endgroup$ Jun 15, 2020 at 12:33
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    $\begingroup$ The views at various universities on what their department of applied mathematics is supposed to do differ. For example, in many US universities, they do not qualify mathematical physics as applied mathematics. I use a broader (and more consistent) definition of applied mathematics. $\endgroup$ Jun 15, 2020 at 12:51

Merton and Scholes received the 1997 Nobel prize in Economics for the famous Black–Scholes–Merton model, which is a mathematical model for the dynamics of a financial market containing derivative investment instruments and the foundation of mathematical finance.


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