Gold medal magic: Jewish Nobel Prize winners


Niels Bohr

Apropos the birthday of Niels Bohr (Oct. 7, 1885), a funny thing happened during the War.


As shared by NPR’s Robert Krulwich, Bohr and another Jewish scientist in his lab, George de Hevesy, dissolved and reconstituted two gold medal Nobel Prizes to hide them from the Nazis. (Bohr had already auctioned his Nobel Prize gold for charity).

Funny JTA Archive epilogue: de Hevesy later earned his own Nobel Prize along with a funny distinction in 1961:

Dr. George de Hevesy, a Jewish Nobel prizewinner and Professor of Organic Chemistry at Stockholm University, has been awarded the Danish Engineering Society’s Niels Bohr Gold Medal international award for his contribution to the peaceful utilization of atomic energy.

On Niels Bohr’s birthday, the JTA Archive is pleased to introduce a new topic page: Jewish Nobel Prize winners. Thanks to Miriam Grossman, JTA summer intern who researched and wrote this great primer. If there were a Nobel Prize in Nobel Prize topic pages…  

Shoutout to JTA writer Dan Klein for spotting the disappearing medal story above and for this gem about the Grinch who tried to make Albert Einstein’s medal disappear.

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