Wolf Prize in Physics


The Wolf Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Wolf Foundation in Israel. It is one of the six Wolf Prizes established by the Foundation and awarded since 1978; the others are in Agriculture, Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine and Arts.

The Wolf Prizes in physics and chemistry are often considered the second most prestigious awards in those fields, after the Nobel Prize.[1][2][3] The prize in physics has gained a reputation for identifying future winners of the Nobel Prize – from the 26 prizes awarded between 1978 and 2010, fourteen winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, five of those in the following year.[2]


Year Name Nationality Citation
1978 Chien-Shiung Wu   United States /   Republic of China for her explorations of the weak interaction, helping establish the precise form and the non-conservation of parity for this natural force.
1979 George Eugene Uhlenbeck   Netherlands /   United States for his discovery, jointly with the late S. A. Goudsmit, of the electron spin.
Giuseppe Occhialini   Italy for his contributions to the discoveries of electron pair production and of the charged pion.
1980 Michael E. Fisher
  United Kingdom for pathbreaking developments culminating in the general theory of the critical behavior at transitions between the different thermodynamic phases of matter.
Leo P. Kadanoff   United States
Kenneth G. Wilson
1981 Freeman Dyson   United Kingdom /   United States for their outstanding contributions to theoretical physics, especially in the development and application of the quantum theory of fields.
Gerard 't Hooft   Netherlands
Victor F. Weisskopf   Austria /   United States
1982 Leon M. Lederman   United States for their experimental discovery of unexpected new particles establishing a third generation of quarks and leptons.
Martin Lewis Perl
1983/84 Erwin Hahn   United States for his discovery of nuclear spin echoes and for the phenomenon of self-induced transparency.
Peter B. Hirsch   United Kingdom for his development of the utilization of the transmission electron microscope as a universal instrument to study the structure of crystalline matter.
Theodore H. Maiman   United States for his realization of the first operating laser, the pulsed three level ruby laser.
1985 Conyers Herring   United States for their major contributions to the fundamental theory of solids, especially of the behaviour of electrons in metals.
Philippe Nozieres   France
1986 Mitchell J. Feigenbaum   United States for his pioneering theoretical studies demonstrating the universal character of non-linear systems, which has made possible the systematic study of chaos.
Albert J. Libchaber   France /   United States for his brilliant experimental demonstration of the transition to turbulence and chaos in dynamic systems.
1987 Herbert Friedman   United States for pioneering investigations in solar X-rays.
Bruno B. Rossi   Italy /   United States for the discovery of extra-solar X-ray sources and the elucidation of their physical processes.
Riccardo Giacconi
1988 Roger Penrose   United Kingdom for their brilliant development of the theory of general relativity, in which they have shown the necessity for cosmological singularities and have elucidated the physics of black holes. In this work they have greatly enlarged our understanding of the origin and possible fate of the Universe.
Stephen W. Hawking
1989 No award
1990 Pierre-Gilles de Gennes   France; for a wide variety of pioneering contributions to our understanding of the organization of complex condensed matter systems, de Gennes especially for his work on macromolecular matter and liquid crystals and Thouless for his on disordered and low-dimensional systems.
David J. Thouless   United Kingdom /   United States
1991 Maurice Goldhaber   United States for their separate seminal contributions to nuclear and particle physics, particularly those concerning the weak interactions involving leptons.
Valentine L. Telegdi   Hungary /    Switzerland /   United States
1992 Joseph H. Taylor, Jr.   United States for his discovery of an orbiting radio pulsar and its exploitation to verify the general theory of relativity to high precision.
1993 Benoît Mandelbrot   France /   United States by recognizing the widespread occurrence of fractals and developing mathematical tools for describing them, he has changed our view of nature.
1994/95 Vitaly L. Ginzburg   Russia for his contributions to the theory of superconductivity and to the theory of high-energy processes in astrophysics.
Yoichiro Nambu   Japan /   United States for his contribution to elementary particle theory, including recognition of the role played by spontaneous symmetry breaking in analogy with superconductivity theory, and the discovery of the color symmetry of the strong interactions.
1995/96 No award
1996/97 John Archibald Wheeler   United States for his seminal contributions to black holes physics, to quantum gravity, and to the theories of nuclear scattering and nuclear fission.
1998 Yakir Aharonov   Israel for the discovery of quantum topological and geometrical phases. specifically the Aharonov–Bohm effect, the Berry phase, and their incorporation into many fields of physics.
Michael V. Berry   United Kingdom
1999 Dan Shechtman   Israel for the experimental discovery of quasi-crystals, non-periodic solids having long-range order, which inspired the exploration of a new fundamental state of matter.
2000 Raymond Davis, Jr.   United States for their pioneering observations of astronomical phenomena by detection of neutrinos, thus creating the emerging field of neutrino astronomy.
Masatoshi Koshiba   Japan
2001 No award
2002/03 Bertrand I. Halperin   United States for key insights into the broad range of condensed matter physics: Leggett on superfluidity of the light helium isotope and macroscopic quantum phenomena; and Halperin on two- dimensional melting, disordered systems and strongly interacting electrons.
Anthony J. Leggett   United Kingdom /   United States
2004 Robert Brout   Belgium for pioneering work that has led to the insight of mass generation whenever a local gauge symmetry is realized asymmetrically in the world of sub-atomic particles.
François Englert
Peter W. Higgs   United Kingdom
2005 Daniel Kleppner   United States for groundbreaking work in atomic physics of hydrogenic systems, including research on the hydrogen maser, Rydberg atoms and Bose–Einstein condensation.
2006/07 Albert Fert   France for their independent discovery of the giant magnetoresistance phenomenon (GMR), thereby launching a new field of research and applications known as spintronics, which utilizes the spin of the electron to store and transport information.
Peter Grünberg   Germany
2008 No award
2009 No award
2010 John F. Clauser   United States for their fundamental conceptual and experimental contributions to the foundations of quantum physics, specifically an increasingly sophisticated series of tests of Bell's inequalities, or extensions thereof, using entangled quantum states.
Alain Aspect   France
Anton Zeilinger   Austria
2011 Maximilian Haider   Austria for their development of aberration-corrected electron microscopy, allowing the observation of individual atoms with picometer precision, thus revolutionizing materials science.
Harald Rose   Germany
Knut Urban
2012 Jacob D. Bekenstein   Israel for his work on black holes.[4]
2013 Peter Zoller   Austria for groundbreaking theoretical contributions to quantum information processing, quantum optics and the physics of quantum gases.
Ignacio Cirac   Spain
2014 No award
2015 James D. Bjorken   United States for predicting scaling in deep inelastic scattering, leading to identification of nucleon's pointlike constituents. He made a crucial contribution for elucidating the nature of the strong force.
Robert P. Kirshner   United States for creating the group, environment and directions that allowed his graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to uncover the acceleration in the expansion of the universe.
2016 Yoseph Imry   Israel for his work in mesoscopic physics – a branch of physics that studies objects that are smaller than macroscopic (visible to the naked eye) objects but bigger than atoms.
2017 Michel Mayor    Switzerland for the discovery of an extrasolar planet orbiting around a star similar to the sun.
Didier Queloz
2018 Charles H. Bennett   United States for their collaborative work in the rapidly expanding field of quantum information science.
Gilles Brassard   Canada
2019 No award
2020 Rafi Bistritzer   Israel for pioneering theoretical and experimental work on twisted bilayer graphene.[5]
Pablo Jarillo-Herrero   Spain
Allan H. MacDonald   Canada
2021 Giorgio Parisi   Italy for ground-breaking discoveries in disordered systems, particle physics and statistical physics.[6]
2022 Anne L'Huillier   France /   Sweden for pioneering contributions to ultrafast laser science and attosecond physics.[7]
Paul Corkum   Canada
Ferenc Krausz   Hungary /   Austria
2023 No award
2024 Martin Rees   United Kingdom for fundamental contributions to high-energy astrophysics, galaxies and structure formation, and cosmology.[8]

Laureates per country


Below is a chart of all laureates per country (updated to 2024 laureates). Some laureates are counted more than once if they have multiple citizenships.

Country Number of laureates
  United States 31
  United Kingdom 10
  France 7
  Israel 5
  Austria 5
  Italy 4
  Germany 3
  Canada 3
   Switzerland 3
  Japan 2
  Hungary 2
  Spain 2
  Netherlands 2
  Belgium 2
  Republic of China 1
  Russia 1
  Sweden 1

See also



  1. ^ "Wolf prize goes to particle theorists" Physicsworld.com January 20, 2004
  2. ^ a b Harris, Margaret (November 2010). "Gongs away". Physics World. 23 (11). Bristol: 46–47. Bibcode:2010PhyW...23k..46H. doi:10.1088/2058-7058/23/11/46.
  3. ^ Basolo, F: From Coello to Inorganic Chemistry: A Lifetime of Reactions, page 65, Springer, 2002
  4. ^ Institute for Advanced Study - Wolf Prize 2012 Archived 2012-01-22 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Laureates 2020
  6. ^ Laureate 2021
  7. ^ Laureates 2022
  8. ^ Laureates 2024
  • List of Wolf Prize laureates, Wolf Foundation
  • "Placido Domingo Wins Israel Wolf Prize". Huffington Post. 2012-01-10.
  • "Eight foreign standouts to receive Wolf Prize". Jerusalem Post. 2013-01-03.
  • Wolf Prizes 2015
  • Jerusalempost - Wolf Prizes 2016
  • Jerusalempost - Wolf Prizes 2017
  • Jerusalempost - Wolf Prizes 2018