BY BRITTANY ORIE
When you think of the word, “noble,” what are some synonyms that ring in your mind? Selfless? Principled? Virtuous? What about exceptionally humane or remarkable? Would you say embodying these traits may lead one to win a Nobel Prize? It just so happens that there are many famous women of our time who exuded the greatness, brilliance, and confidence to win Nobel Prizes in various fields. Here are some noble women who have transcended their barriers to leave their unique mark.
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
Malala Yousafzai fought for the struggle of girls’ education. She is fiercely passionate about the suppression of children and young people and believes that all children have a right to have an education. Malala was only 15 years old when she received the Nobel Peace Prize for standing up for her convictions. She is a leading advocate for girls’ rights and shares her uplifting life story in her memoir, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.
NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY
Marie Curie is known for her and her husband’s groundbreaking discovery of the elements radium and polonium. She was inspired by the discovery of radioactivity in 1896 and wanted to discover the elements and minerals that made it possible. Along with her husband Pierre Curie, they extracted radium and polonium and concluded that those elements were the catalysts of radioactivity! Soon after receiving the Nobel Prize, Marie produced radium as a pure metal, confirming that it was an actual element. With her influence, radium became important in the medicine field where they were used to treat tumors.
NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE
Doris Lessing’s novels are characterized by life in the 20th century, behavioral patterns, and historical events. Her gift of captivating readers with intellectually written novels and touching characters earned her a Nobel Prize in literature. The Golden Notebook was one of the legendary works that brought her to such an achievement. The novel focused on a woman’s psyche, political ideas, and sexuality. She made her mark with her timeless, innovative stories.
Svetlana Alexievich has a way of combining reporting and novel writing to depict life during the political regimes in the Soviet Union. She is known for composing “documentary novels” from the voices of real people. This unique juxtaposition helped her win a Nobel Prize in literature mainly because she used real people to captivate her audience. One of her most famous works is titled Voices of Utopia.
Toni Morrison’s ability to depict African-American life in a way that feels so realistic to the reader won her a Nobel Prize in literature, being the first black woman author to accomplish the feat! Her writings are soaked with passion, pain, hope, faith, integrity, and strength. Morrison paints and develops her characters in such a way that the reader becomes attached and empathizes with them. She also helps us understand her characters on a human level and, ultimately, understand humanity better. She continually wears praise for her intriguing and poignant works such as The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved.
Huerta Muller is another Nobel Prize winner who poetically captures humanity in a vulnerable, relatable way. Some of her works are fused with characters living under a dictator who strikes fear and isolation in their hearts. She pulls from her personal experiences of oppression and steeps them into her fictional stories, making them feel more real and impactful.
These women all had a mission to make a positive, lasting impact on the world by using their gifts. They weren’t afraid to follow their convictions and aspirations and stayed motivated. None of them probably expected to receive such accolades for their work! Perhaps they were just driven, passionate, and wanted to give the people something beautiful and lasting. So, no matter what your niche is, you can always use your talents, convictions, passions, and courage to leave your mark. Who knows, maybe you’ll be a future Nobel Prize winner?