King’s College London Nobel Prize Winners

King’s College London logo

King’s College London Nobel Prize Winners

King’s College London Nobel Prize Winners

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.

Tenth Nobel Prize Winner

Posted on 12/10/2010
Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa, one of Latin America’s most significant novelists and leading author of his generation, a former member of staff and Honorary Fellow of the College, has been awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in literature.

Mario Vargas Llosa was Lecturer in Spanish American Literature in the Department of Spanish & Spanish-American Studies at King’s College London from 1969-1970, just before he decided to become a full-time writer. He was made an Honorary Fellow of King’s College London in July 2005. He is the first South American winner of the 10 million kronor prize since 1982 when it was awarded to Colombian Gabriel García Márquez.

A prolific novelist, playwright and essayist, the 74-year old is best known for works such as The Time of the Hero (La ciudad y los perros), The Green House (La casa verde), and the monumental Conversation in the Cathedral (Conversación en la catedral). His novels include comedies, murder mysteries, historical novels, and political thrillers. Several, such as Captain Pantoja and the Special Service and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, have been adapted as feature films.

He is also a literary critic of great importance, having published still fundamental studies of Gabriel García Márquez, Gustave Flaubert, and the 15th century Valencian chivalresque novel Tirant lo Blanc.

While his works are influenced by the writer’s perception of Peruvian society and his own experiences as a native Peruvian, his vast knowledge of world literature is always evident in his writing. He has been the recipient of many literary prizes and numerous honours including membership of the Real Academia Española.

He is also well known for his profile as a politician, and ran for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 with the centre-right Frente Democrático (FREDEMO) coalition, advocating neoliberal reforms.

Paying tribute to Mario Vargas Llosa, Dr Elisa Sampson Vera Tudela in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at King’s says: ‘Over his long trajectory as a writer, Mario Vargas Llosa has shown an incredible versatility and willingness to take risks in his novels. The Nobel Committee has recognised this amazing formal creativity as well as Vargas Llosa’s commitment to a public and political role for the writer in society – this is a very good day for Latin American letters.’ 

He is the tenth person closely associated with King’s to have won the Nobel Prize.

Notes to editors


King’s College London

King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2010 QS international world rankings), The Sunday Times ‘University of the Year 2010/11′ and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has nearly 23,000 students (of whom more than 8,600 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 5,500 employees. King’s is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.


King’s has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.

King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.

King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King’s Health Partners. King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world’s leading research-led universities and three of London’s most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit:

Further information

Alison Denyer, Senior Communications Manager, Public Relations Department, Email: Tel: 020 7848 307

Rss Feed Atom Feed