Who Was the First American to Win a Nobel Prize?

US President Theodore Roosevelt was the first American to win a Nobel Prize in 1906 when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his arbitration in the war between Russia and Japan, which resulted in the Treaty of Portsmouth that ended the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway and Roosevelt had the US ambassador to Norway accept the honor on his behalf. It was not until 1910 that he was able to deliver an acceptance speech in Norway. Roosevelt did not keep the monetary portion of the prize and instead donated it to Congress in hopes of developing an international peace league, which did not occur until the 1945 formation of the United Nations.

More about Nobel Prize winners:

  • Since the award’s introduction in 1901, approximately 847 individuals and 22 organizations have won a Nobel Prize, as of 2013.
  • The first woman to win a Nobel Prize was Polish scientist Marie Curie, in 1903 for her work in physics.
  • The US has the most Nobel Prize winners of any country, at 347 as of 2013. The UK has the second highest rate of Nobel Prize winners, at 120.

Discussion Comments


@hydrorod: Sweden; Nobel, the inventor of TNT; stolen by the members of Congress.


Who or what country started the Nobel Prize in 1901 and what is the meaning of "Nobel" prize? And what was done with the money Roosevelt donated to Congress since it wasn't used for its intended purpose? The League of Nations fell through, as introduced by Harding in what year?

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