Talk:Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

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Former good article nominee Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was a Natural sciences good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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What does "mechanicsm" mean? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:10, 6 June 2005

Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to…) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. JFW | T@lk 02:26, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Issue resolved by JFW at 02:27, 7 June 2005 (UTC). –panda 16:12, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Article improvements[edit]

I just finished an informal reveiw of all the Nobel Prize laurates in Physiology or Medicine. Many of the articles are very short stubs. I've made of list of my off-the-cuff assessments of each article on my subpage User:Sayeth/nobelprize. Please help improve these articles to make Wikipedia more complete. Sayeth 17:39, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

change sort?[edit]

I'm tempted to resort this with the most recent on top, and the oldest on the bottom. I think most users will want to know the most recent prizes awarded, since these are usually current afairs, and keep the history and oldest ones on the bottom. Anybody agree or disagree?--Sonjaaa 21:06, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

I kind of like it as it is, truth to say. Scrolling through it makes you wonder at the speed of progress in this field in the last century or so... It puts things in perspective, and helps realise that many familiar aspects of healthcare that we rely upon today, like antibiotics, are actuallya pretty recent invetion.  :) --Nehwyn 21:47, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Issue resolved. See #Major changes to the tablepanda 16:12, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Topics do not match Nobel site[edit]

I've noticed that the topics listed on this page do not always match those given at the official nobel prize website. For example, Shanata 01:22, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Issue resolved. See #Major changes to the tablepanda 16:12, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Dutch Prince's flag[edit]

I just changed the Dutch "prinsenvlag" to the standard Dutch flag for the Willem Einthoven (1924) and Christiaan Eijkman (1929). While both flags were in use before 1937, the Red-White-Blue was generally given precedence (according to the Wikipedia article on the flag). Using this flag is also more consistent with the other pages on Nobel Prizes: they all use the "modern" flag for Dutch winners, even before 1937. 14:31, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Major changes to the table[edit]

I made some changes to the table:

  • The table is now sortable - If you prefer to see a list with the most current year on top, you can now switch the order. This meant that years that had multiple reasons had to be put in separate rows (that is, I removed all rowspans) and there would be two entries for a particular year. So I put an asterisk (*) behind those years with an explanation at the bottom of the table.
  • The country of citizenship is now associated with a person - I moved the country of citizenship from a separate column to beside the person's name to make it easier to understand who had what citizenship.
  • The flags may reflect the state of a country in the past - Many countries have changed their flags and/or borders throughout the years. Before changing a flag, please read the text before the table explaining which flag is used for each country. The rationale for using an older flag is that it can sometimes quickly explain why someone emigrated and the state of the world at the time they emigrated, won the Nobel prize, or died.
  • The quotes are the actual quotes from The Nobel Foundation website - A lot of the previous text was not a quote but was within quotation marks anyway. The change meant that some of the previous wiki-links have changed. All of the quotes are also now referenced.
  • Included all years, even when no prize was awarded - Otherwise it's easy to miss that the Nobel prize was not awarded ever year from 1901.

Things to do - please help!:

  • Verify citizenships - For example, the Nobel website claims that John James Richard Macleod was Canadian but I haven't found any evidence of that yet except on that page.[1] So rather than remove it, I put a question mark beside it.
  • Add the year someone acquired an additional citizenship - The year can sometimes be interesting as it can be related to other world events and may help explain why someone would change citizenships.

panda 16:57, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

RFC: Country – ambiguous or not[edit]

There is currently a request for comments at Talk:Nobel Prize in Chemistry#RFC: Country – ambiguous or not to discuss whether the country column in the table of Nobel laureates is ambiguous or not. Your comments in this matter would be appreciated. panda 14:09, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Weird issues regarding flags and country names[edit]

I realize that the text at the top of the article is intended to provide rules as to which flags are used for laureates who have changed their citizenship. However, when the rules present weird results, as they apparently do now, that may mean that those rules need to be changed.

In particular, there is a laureate from 1970 who is identified with a flag of Nazi Germany (along with the British flag for his later citizenship). This makes it look as though the article is giving Nazi Germany "credit" for a Nobel Prize in 1970, twenty-five years after the regime dissolved. Furthermore, the laureate in question, Bernard Katz, was Jewish and spent less than two years living in Nazi Germany before emigrating. If one were to associate a German flag with Katz, it might make more sense to use the flag of the German Empire as of when he was born, rather than the flag that he spent only a short period of his life living under. A similar argument applies to 1945 laureate Ernst Boris Chain.

Finally, identifying the country as "Nazi Germany" in this table seems to violate NPOV (obviously there are contexts where it is a useful description, but not here). The country was officially known as "Deutsches Reich" at the time when the three Physiology or Medicine laureates last lived there, and the word "Nazi" was never part of the country's name. While "Deutsches Reich" can be translated as "German Reich" or "German Empire", it would seem more useful just to identify the country as "Germany" which is the standard short name in English. For comparison, the term "Communist China" is in common use, but I doubt that a laureate from the People's Republic of China would be identified as being from "Communist China". --Metropolitan90 06:15, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

I have nothing against replacing Nazi Germany with its official name Deutsches Reich. The point was to use official country names and the flags used at that time. That would not be a violation of NPOV. The reason why I chose the scheme that I did was because for laureates such as Bernard Katz and Ernst Boris Chain, the Nazi flag shows quickly why they emigrated. If you can come up with a consistent flag scheme, then by all means use it. (Country of birth is not a good choice since some people can be born in a country and never be a citizen of that country.) panda 07:59, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
For clarity, I am not recommending that we use the name "Deutsches Reich" in the table. To use an analogy, if someone from France were to win the prize this year, we wouldn't identify their country in the table as "République française" or "French Republic". We'd use the common name "France". Similarly, the common name of "Deutsches Reich" should be given as "Germany". --Metropolitan90 15:59, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
According to the editors of the Germany articles, the common English name would be Nazi Germany for that time period. (See Talk:Nazi Germany and the many comments about this.) The more official English name would be German Reich, but other editors of the Nobel articles have split up the German Reich into its three periods: German Empire, Weimar Republic, and Nazi Germany. I didn't pick those names, I only reorganized the table according to the comments other editors have made on this talk page and the other Nobel lists. If you have a better suggestion that takes into consideration what others have requested, then that would be great. Right now, it sounds like your only objection is seeing Nazi Germany in the table for Jewish Germans that emigrated due to the rise of Nazi Germany. That's not a violation of WP:NPOV but rather a historical fact. panda 21:36, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
All that the discussion at Talk:Nazi Germany shows is that there is a consensus that "Nazi Germany" is the correct title of the article about Germany in the Nazi era. I agree that that would be the correct title for that article, but that doesn't necessarily support having that designation on this page Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. By comparison, look at the article Athletics at the 1936 Summer Olympics. There are various German athletes listed as medalists on that page, with the flag of Nazi Germany next to their names, but the country listing for each of them is Germany (GER), not "Nazi Germany". Also, it is a historical fact that the Jewish German laureates emigrated due to the rise of Nazi Germany, but it was the decision of one or more Wikipedia editors that the flag that would be placed next to their names for their country of origin would be the Nazi-era flag. If Wikipedia editors chose instead, for laureates who changed their citizenship, to use the flag of their native country as of when they were born, then Katz and Chain would have different flags next to their names. In summary, these rules that have been applied on this page were not handed down by God or even Jimbo Wales, but are the product of editing decisions. If those rules produce unsatisfactory results, we can change them by consensus. --Metropolitan90 00:32, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
Of course the rules can be changed but could you reiterate exactly what your suggestion is? You've written that Nazi Germany should be changed to Germany but then you also written that PRC should be used instead of Communist China, which is contradictory in my mind. Just out of curiosity, what is inappropriate about mentioning Nazi Germany or showing the Nazi flag in this article? panda 06:16, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps other editors can help us formulate a rule that will work broadly. I don't see the contradiction in my Germany vs. China position; a laureate from Nazi Germany should be identified as from "Germany" while a laureate from Communist China should be identified as being from "China", which seems consistent to me. If you look at Nobel laureates by country you will see significant interest in which countries have produced the most Nobel prize winners, implying that a country gets "credit" for its natives or citizens who win. Appearing to give Nazi Germany in particular credit for Katz and Chain, rather than Germany or the German Empire (as it was when they were born), makes it look like the regime gets credit for the Nobel Prizes won by its ex-citizens that it drove out of the country. --Metropolitan90 07:36, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
Nobel laureates by country seems to have their own problems with how to handle counties that no longer exist today and laureates with multiple nationalities. I don't have any strong opinions about this topic so let's make it an RFC across all of the Nobel Prize articles and try to reach a consensus that can be applied to all of the articles. (Your current example of Germany and China make more sense than the previous one which sounded like you were advocating for using Germany and PRC.) I can start it in the Nobel Prize for Chemistry talk page since that one already has an RFC that I plan to close due to consensus. panda 10:28, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

RFC: Country data in Nobel lists[edit]

There is currently a Request for Comments about the country data in the Nobel lists at Talk:Nobel Prize in Chemistry#RFC: Country data in Nobel lists. Your comments would be appreciated. The results of the RFC may affect all of the Nobel Prize articles. panda 16:50, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Some RFC updates:

  • You can find the definition of the country data included in the Nobel lists in the RFC under the point Country data defined.
  • There is currently a consensus moving towards removing all of the flags in the Nobel lists unless someone can devise an acceptable scheme for them. This portion of the RFC (point 2) will be closed in 2 weeks, i.e., 31 October 2007 24 October 2007, assuming it is not challenged. That is, the consensus will be to remove all flags from the lists.

–panda 15:21, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

this is incorrect mis-information: on please do not continue to represent your opinion as fact. --emerson7 16:47, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

As stated in the RFC: This is a fact. It is the definition according to the Nobel Foundation. If you dispute the fact, then I invite you to go to the library and check the book. Please stop being disruptive. –panda 16:50, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

This RFC has been closed. The following was reach by consensus:

  • The country data on the Nobel Foundation list is the laureate's nationality (according to the book "Nobel: The Man and His Prizes"); knowing this, there are at least a couple errors for the laureate's nationality in the Nobel Foundation's list.
  • The countries/nationalities should be included in the list.
  • Use common names for the countries/nationalities. All variants of Germany should simply be called Germany except for West Germany, even though there never were any laureate's from East Germany. Only one editor commented on which variant of Germany should be linked to (the current one), so it's difficult to say if there is any consensus about that aspect.

For a list of inconclusive items, please see the closing comments. –panda 20:57, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Therefore there was no reason to remove the note about West Germany, and furthermore the subsequent era's should NOT be called the German Empire, which fell around 1918 At the end of WWI. There is a reason I made the Changes. It is politically incorrect. It is like saying that any articles referring to Russia should immediately be changed to USSR! It is not correct. --Jab843 (talk) 00:15, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

I have no idea what you're commenting about. I'm just reporting the results of the RFC. –panda (talk) 03:54, 17 November 2007 (UTC)


The edit-warring on this page is disruptive, so I have protected the page. I suggest you all read Wikipedia:Manual of Style (flags) and agree on what to do with this page. The two choices that are consistent with consensus Wikipedia guidelines are:

  1. Use the historically correct flags at the time
  2. Don't use any flags at all

Andrwsc (talk) 00:15, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

For those who have an interest in the flags that are displayed in the lists, there is a thread about this here: Talk:Nobel Prize in Chemistry#Nazi-flag edit. –panda (talk) 03:56, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

I'd just like to point out that the RfC was inconclusive with respect to the use of flags. WP:FLAG, in light of the edit wars, suggests that it is preferable not to use flags at all in this case.--Boffob 19:31, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree. It's not like these people were competing for their "national Nobel Prize teams"! Their nationality is purely incidental, and the flags are not helpful. I have just removed them. Andrwsc 19:54, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Can I suggest that the lists be consistent? That is, if the flags are removed here, then they should be removed from all of the Nobel lists. –panda 20:12, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I absolutely agree.--Boffob 20:18, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Just wanted to point out that Nobel Prize in Literature still has flags in the nationality list, which need to be removed. (I'm feeling lazy and don't want to do it myself...) –panda (talk) 15:23, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

I removed the flags from Nobel Prize in Literature today. –panda (talk) 17:35, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Looie496 (talk) 19:26, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

I am pleased to review this important article. Just so you know who you're dealing with, my main expertise is in behavioral neuroscience. Even on a first reading I can see that it is generally at the GA quality level, and the changes I will ask for will be relatively minor. Here are my initial suggestions for possible improvements:

  1. It would be nice if the article could give more info about the types of work that received awards over time. It mentions the disappearance of basic physiology, but if it could say more about medicine versus physiology, the types of medicine, and the types of physiology, I think it would be useful to readers. (Addendum: I see now that this is discussed in the Laureates section. It would be nice to have it stand out a little better.)
  2. Articles should not include statements that will soon become untrue, such as "The 2010 winner(s) will be announced Ocober 4, 2010".
  3. I don't know what the difference is between "classical Physiology" and other types of physiology. If I, a physiologist, don't know this, it seems unlikely that other readers will.
  4. Award money: It would be nice to have some actual numbers here.
  5. Ceremony and banquet: As I see it, the most important aspect of the ceremony is that the winner has a chance to give a lecture, which is usually used to put the work in historical perspective. Many of these lectures become famous publications. I'm not sure the number of courses in the banquet is worth mentioning (but I don't insist that it go).
  6. I have the impression that the section on the 1962 prize may not be 100% balanced, but I don't know enough about the details of the controversy to have strong feelings about this.
  7. It would be nice to say something about the impact of the prize. How has it affected the community and the scientists who have received it?

Those are the main points that I see. I'll look over the sources and pictures and such over the next few days. Looie496 (talk) 19:26, 8 August 2010 (UTC)


Let me add that I've just gone over the first GA review, and don't see a need to add much to what I wrote above. As a reviewer, I will regard the Nobel Prize organization as a reliable source. The only place where issues of sourcing may come up, as far as I am concerned, is in the discussion of controversies. Looie496 (talk) 19:40, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Just noting that the nominator was indef-blocked, so unless there's someone else fixing your concerns it should be failed. Wizardman Operation Big Bear 03:15, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
What's the status? Do we need to round up some help for this? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:24, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
If it can wait until the weekend, I think I can address the reviewers concerns. If not, I can fix them up and then renom. Canada Hky (talk) 16:47, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
One of the issues above was fixed, but it seems there are a few outstanding issues still and it's been over a month. As a result I'm failing this article; what's left can be fixed and it can always be re-nommed. Wizardman Operation Big Bear 15:13, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Ronald Ross[edit]

Ronald Ross was not 87 years old in 1902

You must be thinking of Peyton Rous, 1966 Nobel Laureate for his 1911 discovery of the filterable agent in chicken cancer, Rous sarcoma virus. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:04, 2 September 2010 (UTC)


This sentence makes no sense: "The Nobel Committee did not acknowledged Paulescu as the true discoverer of insulin in 1969" --Accursius (talk) 13:16, 3 October 2011 (UTC)


Since this is a main page news item, it seems to be recieving some vandalism, as the article currently claims it is not the Nobel prize, but the "Judith" prize. Someone who knows what they are doing should consider:

- Reverting the vandalism,

- Punishing the vandal, and

- Temporarily protecting the article while things cool off. Ako17 (talk) 12:23, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Regarding anomolous content[edit]

In the Section of the article on Laureates, subsection Time Factor and Death, here [2], the following sentences:

The 2009 award in medicine was the first in the Nobel Prize's history that more than one woman has been the recipient of the Nobel Prize in a single year.[1] It is also the first time two women have been awarded the Physiology or Medicine prize.[2]

have nothing to do with the subsection title content, looking instead as if they were placed in that location because the preceding sentence that did regard time passed before winning (time factor) was also about a female recipient of this prize.

Bottom line, this is interesting content, and well referenced, but it is in the wrong place. I would appreciate if someone with interest could place it in a more appropriate spot, or if desirable, create a subsection on gender issues into which it could be moved. Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 13:08, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Regarding other problematic content[edit]

Note, in the following, I have no opinion as to the controversy or historical matters, only to the way in which claims are substantiated via references provided.

In the Section of the article on Laureates, subsection Controversial inclusions and exclusions, here [3], the following section contains problem with prose and references (lead brackets of citations removed, and citations bulleted for ease of review):

Some maintain that Nicolae Paulescu, a Romanian professor of physiology at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest, was the first to isolate insulin, in 1916, although his pancrein was an impure aqueous extract unfit for human treatment similar to the one used previously by Israel Kleiner.

In the paper that brought him the Nobel,

Paulescu already held a patent for his discovery (10 April 1922, patent no. 6254 (8322) "Pancreina şi procedeul fabricaţiei ei"/"Pancrein and the process of making it", from the Romanian Ministry of Industry and Trade).

  • ref name="nrms">Murray, Ian (1971). "Paulesco and the Isolation of Insulin". J Hist Med Allied Sci 26 (2): 150–157. doi:10.1093/jhmas/XXVI.2.150. PMID 4930788. </ref>[3]
  • ref name="nrqs">Pavel, I. (1976). The Priority of N.C. Paulescu in the Discovery of Insulin [Prioritatea lui N.C. Paulescu în descoperirea insulinei]. Academy of the Socialist Republic of Romania. </ref>

This is a very problematic and currently unacceptable section, issues for which include:

  • (i) that the names Paulescu and Paulesco appear interchangeably, without explanation, in the text and citations,
  • (ii) that 3 articles are to primary literature (J Nutrition, Paulesco 1921, Banting & Best 1922), making the content WP:OR (insofar as the editors placing the content were conducting OR in drawing conclusions form original historical sources, rather than reporting the conclusions of secondary or tertiary sources);
  • (iii) that 2 articles are not in English (Paulesco 1921, Lestradet 1997), and therefore cannot generally be used to support verification of content;
  • (iv) that the J Nutrition reference content, minutes from a meeting in 1967, do not support the Kleiner or any other content of the sentence to which they are attached;
  • (v) that the "In the paper that brought him the Nobel, Paulescu already held a patent..." sentence is indecipherable as to meaning, and so requires editing for basic clarity;
  • (vi) that the closing citation is difficult to attain or to see excerpts of, and so is essentially unverifiable, and is not given great credibility in mainstream scientific book reviews (see [4]), and at its face may be questionable vis-a-vis POV; and
  • (vii) that the Murray 1971 article, while a reputable article that may support the claims made in this Wikipedia text, is not widely available (see [5]), and appears based on another's summary of it to address the issues in such a way as to not support the conclusion of the sentence:

"In experiments during the years leading up to the First World War, in Bucharest, Romania, Nicola Paulesco demonstrated in dogs that pancreatic extracts (pancreine) caused hypoglycaemia. His method of extraction involved removing the pancreas under conditions as sterile as possible, mincing it, extracting with ice-cold water and then filtering it. Paulesco’s detailed description of his experiments provided convincing proof of the hypoglycaemic properties of the pancreatic extracts he had isolated, but the First World War delayed publication until 1921, when his research was reported in a series of short articles in a rather obscure French journal (Paulesco 1921). As a result, Paulesco’s work passed almost unnoticed because, while he was still trying to solve the problems of purification and production of adequate quantities of pancreine for use in human diabetes, these difficulties had been overcome in the United States and Canada (Murray 1971)." REF: Stylianou C, Kelnar C (2008). The introduction of successful treatment of diabetes mellitus with insulin. JLL Bulletin: Commentaries on the history of treatment evaluation (, see [6], accessed 5 June 2014.

Bottom line, while I m sympathetic to the historical claims of this section, "that Paulescu belongs in this genealogy" (see [7]), only the Murray 1971 article in this section stands as a reliable, verifiable source without OR or POV issues that might make this claim, and the Murray source is not readily available. (I have requested it via ResearchGate.) All remaining citations are either primary citations demanding OR, or are inaccessible or have apparent POV issues. Even in the case of Murray, another reliable representation of its content indicates it does not say what this WIkipedia article suggests (quotation). Hence, this indicated content should be redacted and replaced by content on this issue that is fully supported by citations that allow for content verification. I would appreciate if someone with interest could review this and make the appropriate edits. Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 14:53, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Harmon, Katherine (5 October 2009). "Work on Telomeres Wins Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 3 U.S. Genetic Researchers (Update)". Scientific American. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "Cancer researchers win the Nobel Prize in medicine". Discovery News. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  3. ^ Murray, Ian (1969). "The search for insulin". Scott. Med. J. 14 (8): 286–293. PMID 4897848.