This is the "Deaf Nobel Prize winners" page of the "FAQ: Deaf people in history" guide.
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FAQ: Deaf people in history   Tags: deaf, faq  

This guide covers Laurent Clerc's writings, Helen Keller's quotations, slavery, the Nobel Prize, the Gallaudet Family, the Holocaust, and the Civil War.
Last Updated: Sep 19, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Deaf Nobel Prize winners Print Page

Winners and prizes

Three deaf persons have won Nobel Prizes:

Cornforth, John Warcup

Sept. 7, 1917-Dec. 8, 2013
British, born Australian
Chemist, scientist, Nobel Prize winner
      Deafened in childhood. Attended the University of Sydney (B.S.C., 1937 and M.S.C., 1938) and Oxford University (D.Phil. 1941). Shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1975, for his study of the formation of cholesterol molecules, which revealed how cholesterol is synthesized in living cells.. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
References: Deaf persons in the arts and sciences, p.83-86; Gallaudet encyclopedia, vol.1 p.203-204; Who's who, 1976, p.514.

Nicolle, Charles Henri

Sept. 21, 1866-Feb. 28, 1936
Medical researcher, medicine, Nobel Prize winner
      Born at Rouen, France; deafened at about age 20 while studying medicine. Became a biological researcher; became director of the Pasteur Institute in Tunis, Tunisia. While in Tunis, he discovered the propagation of eanthematic typhus by lice, demonstrating and proving that the louse is the carrier of the virus that causes typhus. He eventually won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1928 for this work (the first deaf person to win a Nobel Prize). He also made other important discoveries in the spread and control of epidemic diseases. Died at Tunis. Has been honored on Tunisian and French postage stamps.
References: Deaf persons in the arts and sciences, p.276-278; Silence of the spheres, p.107-108.

Sherrington, Charles

Nov. 27, 1857-1952
Physician, medicine, Nobel Prize winner
      Late-deafened. Was President of the Royal Society in 1920 and a member of the Order of Merit. Shared the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1932, for his research on the nervous system and the functions of neurons. Knighted by the King of England.
Reference: Silence of the spheres, p.103.


  • Gallaudet encyclopedia of deaf persons and deafness. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987.
  • Lang, Harry G., and Meath-Lang, Bonnie. Deaf persons in the arts and sciences: a biographical dictionary. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995.
  • Lang, Harry G. Silence of the spheres: the deaf experience in the history of science. Westport, Conn.: Bergin & Garvey, 1994.


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Prepared by Tom Harrington
Reference and Instruction Librarian
May 2002

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