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History & today

King's Nobel laureates

Twelve people who have worked or studied at King's and its constituent institutions have been awarded the Nobel Prize.


Charles Barkla

Charles Barkla (1877-1944), awarded the Nobel Prize for researches into X-rays and other emissions in 1917.

Professor of Physics at King's 1909-13.


Owen Richardson

Sir Owen Richardson (1879-1959) was awarded the Nobel Prize for pioneering the study of 'thermionics' in 1928.

Professor of Physics at Kings from 1914-24.


Frederick Gowland Hopkins

Professor Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (1861-1947), was awarded the Nobel Prize for research on vitamins and beriberi in 1929.

Taught physiology and toxicology at Guy's Hospital from 1894-8.



Professor Sir Charles Scott Sherrington (1857-1952), was awarded the Nobel Prize for research on the nervous system in 1932.

Lectured in Systematic Physiology at St Thomas' Hospital 1887-91.


Edward Appleton

Sir Edward Appleton (1892-1965), was awarded the Nobel Prize for exploration of the ionosophere in 1947.

Wheatstone Professor of Physics at King's from 1924-36.


Dr Max Theiler (1899-1972) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for developing a vaccine for yellow fever in 1951.

Studied at St. Thomas' Hospital and also worked on the causes and immunology of Weil's disease, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis and poliomyelitis.


Maurice Wilkins

Maurice Wilkins (1916-2004) was awarded the Nobel prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1962.

Latterly Emeritus Professor of Biophysics at King's.


Desmond Tutu

The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu (b 1931) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1984 in recognition of his work as Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches.

One of King's most respected alumni and visiting professor in Post-conflict Societies at the university in 2004. Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986-96 and Chairman of the South African Peace and Reconciliation Commission.


James Black

Sir James Black (1924-2010) was awarded the Nobel Prize for the development of beta-blocker and anti-ulcer drugs in 1988.

Latterly Emeritus Professor of Analytical Pharmacology at King's.



Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010.

Lecturer in Spanish American Literature in the Department of Spanish & Spanish-American Studies at King's in 1969-70, before he became a full-time writer. He became a Fellow of King's in 2005.


Peter Higgs

Professor Peter Higgs was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013.

Professor Peter Higgs came to King's as an undergraduate in 1947 to read natural sciences in the field of physics. After graduating with a first-class BSc in 1950 he took an MSc in physics in 1952 and was awarded his PhD in 1954.

Among the many honours and awards Professor Higgs has received are the Fellowship of King's in 1998 and the university's Honorary Doctorate of Science in 2009.

Professor Michael Levitt

Professor Michael Levitt studied Physics at King's and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1967.

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