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The ‘Nobel’ Couples!

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has honoured India-born Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, his wife and fellow MIT Professor Esther Duflo, and Harvard’s Michael Kremer with the Nobel Prize for Economics. The Academy said in a statement that the three Economists had introduced a new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight Global Poverty.

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Banerjee and Duflo

Economics is widely considered to be a part of Social Sciences, where theories and concepts cannot be tested for validity, unlike Physical Sciences. However, Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer being given the Prize changes this concept in a way, as their works have argued that it is possible to design policies after having tested different versions of them in controlled conditions…
Duflo tied nuptial knot with Banerjee in 2015, three years after the birth of their only child (in 2012). Duflo took admission in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for pursuing her PhD in Economics in 1999. Banerjee was her Joint Superviser at that time. Later, they fell in love with each other and laid their hands at various projects together.

May-Britt Moser and Edvard I Moser.jpg
May-Britt Moser and Edvard I Moser

It is to be noted that Duflo and Banerjee are not the first couple to receive Nobel Prize, jointly. In 2014, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was divided, as one half awarded to John O’Keefe, and the other half jointly to May-Britt Moser and her husband Edvard I Moser “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain”. The Norwegian couple’s success brought cheers to the tiny football-crazy Scandinavian nation. May-Britt and Edvard studied at the same high school and university. However, the closeness did not develop between the two at that time. They came close to each other only after completing their studies.

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Pierre Curie and Marie Curie

Well, in 1903, Pierre Curie, his wife Marie Curie and Antoine Henri Becquerel had received the Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curie couple were honoured for “the extraordinary services they had rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Becquerel”. Marie Curie created a new record as she was the first female recipient of Nobel Prize. Poland-born Marie’s French husband died in a road accident in 1906. However, Marie concentrated to her research work again, and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911 for “her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element”. She was the first person to win the Nobel Prize twice!

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Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot

Later in 1935, Marie and Pierre Curie’s daughter Irène Joliot-Curie shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with her husband Frédéric Joliot “in recognition of their synthesis of new radioactive elements”. Irène started her career as an assistant of her mother at the Radium Institute in Paris. The couple’s research on the structure of atoms would play an important role in the discovery of neutron in the future!

Gerty Theresa Cori and Carl Ferdinand Cori.jpg
Gerty Theresa Cori and Carl Ferdinand Cori

In 1947, Bernardo Alberto Houssay shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine with Gerty Theresa Cori and her husband Carl Ferdinand Cori. The Coris received the Nobel “for their discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen”. Gerty met Carl at the campus of German University in Prague, as both of them studied there. Later, they earned their degrees in Medical Sciences and tied the nuptial knot, before leaving for the US, where they got the permanent citizenship.

Alva Reimer Myrdal and Gunnar Myrdal.jpg
Alva Reimer Myrdal and Gunnar Myrdal

Swedish couple Alva Reimer Myrdal and Gunnar Myrdal were members of the Social Democratic Party. Gunnar Myrdal received the Nobel Prize in Economics, jointly with Friedrich von Hayek, in 1974 “for their pioneering work in the Theory of Money and Economic Fluctuations and also for their penetrating analysis of the Interdependence of Economic, Social and Institutional Phenomena”. Later in 1982, Alva, the Swedish sociologist, diplomat and politician, and a prominent leader of the Disarmament Movement, shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Alfonso Garcia Robles of Mexico.

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So far, the Royal Swedish Academy has bestowed the prestigious Nobel Prize on five couples…

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