Nobel Laureate Crossword Puzzle 1901 - 1909

crossord puzzle template & gold medal with text: Nobel Laureates 1901-1909

Co-authored by Thomas Manning*, Paige Bland*

*Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA

This Nobel Laureate crossword puzzle focuses on prizes awarded between 1901 and 1909. Learn and revisit some historical chemistry, terminology and background on key historical figures in this field. This decade, 1901-1909, is the beginning of the quantum revolution that not only rocked chemistry and physics, but laid the groundwork for new forms of electronics, pharmaceuticals and understanding genetics at a molecular level. In this era, the neutron was still twenty years from being experimentally verified, the use of electricity was in its infancy and the first effective antibiotic, penicillin, was not mass produced until the 1940’s.

The Nobel Prize is awarded every year in six disciplines; Chemistry, Physics, Medicine and Physiology, Literature, Peace, and Economics. Alfred Nobel, active as an inventor and businessperson, left a will in 1895, to acknowledge "those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind." Scientists can typically spend years or even decades developing their projects that can advance humanity. Once the concept or event has been brought into the public’s view, its impact is evaluated. The announcements of the year’s recipients take place in the fall of each year, with a ceremony held in Sweden typically in early December. The award includes a gold medallion, a diploma, and a significant monetary award. Awards are often correlated with popularity, as many Nobel Awards winners have been known to shape our society, from Watson and Cricks double helix structure of DNA and Marie Curie's work with radioactivity, to Jennifer Anne Soudan and Emmanuelle Charpentier work with CRISPR and Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and Barry Sharpless (his 2nd Nobel Prize) for their work with click chemistry. We are working on a series of puzzles that will provide some introductory material on every Nobel Prize awarded from 1901 to 2022. In addition, some key concepts in the Nobel Award in medicine and physics with strong links to various areas of chemistry will also be included. These will range from Watson and Cricks model of DNA to the Bohr model of the atom.


Here you will find 


Our first educational puzzle submitted to ChemEd X was developed during the pandemic and focused on infectious diseases (see )1. It allows players to learn something about over 150 infectious diseases using a strategic method. Recently we developed a novel puzzle that allows students to think strategically while familiarizing themselves with the elements and their symbols from the periodic table (see )2.

For more information about the educational benefits of using puzzles, see our previous post:

  1. Using an Abbreviation Puzzle as a Method to Familiarize Students with Infectious Diseases, Peyton Bellflower, Teighlor Livingston, Yalanda Gordon, Rachel Davis, Torien Beard, Matt Cowan, Thomas Manning, Chemistry Dept., Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia. ChemEd X April 2020.
  2. Turning Element Abbreviations into a Strategic Exercise (), Thomas Manning, Teighlor Livingston, Chemistry Dept., Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia. ChemEd X October 2022.

This series of puzzles can be completed individually or in groups, and it can be used in a classroom setting or given as homework. And don’t forget, there are always a few parents and other family members that might enjoy the activity. 


3. Dr. Moissan undercovered silicon _______ in a meteor crater in Arizona. The mineral was named moissanite, recognizing his contribution.

5. The prize is named after Alfred Nobel, from Sweden. He was the inventor of _______ and other explosives.  He was a very productive inventor, having won over 350 patents.

7. Adolf von _________won the 1905 Nobel Prize in chemistry while working at Munich Universdity (Germany). He demonstrated that coal tar could be a source of organic molecules, such as dyes.

9. Professor Marie Curie perfected and used isolation techniques to separate (and discover) radioactive elements such as ______.

13. Jacobus van't___________won the 1901 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, in part, for advances in understanding osmotic pressure. Osmotic pressure is a colligative property that involves solvents with dissolved molecular species (i.e. glucose in water) passing through a semipermeable membrane. The osmotic pressure generated is proportional to temperature and the species concentration.  RO or reverse osmosis is used to purify water.

14. Rutherfords ___ foil experiment, which demonstrated the atom is mostly empty space,  demonstrated that alpha particles can pass through the ______ foil.

16. Sir William ________ won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1904 for work related to inert gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe). He also helped establish their place on the periodic table.  He is credited for the discovery of Neon, Krypton and Xenon. The same year he won the Nobel Prize (1904), two physicists won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of argon.

17. J.J. ________ is credited with the pudding model of the atom, discoveries related to electrons and isotopes, and the invention of the mass spectrometer. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1906.

18. Emil von _____ won the 1901 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work with the discovery of the diphtheria antitoxin, which saved the lives of many children.

19. Wilhelm Ostwald received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1909 for his work with _______  and chemical equilibria. His work resulted in the large scale production of fertlizers and explosives. A catalyst lowers the activation energy of a reaction, allowing it to go faster.

20. Friedrich Wilhelm _______, along with van't Hoff, Nernst, and Svante Arrhenius are credited with establishing the field of physical chemistry.

22. __________ He was the 1902 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He discovered an esterification reaction, which involved the reaction between a sugar molecule and a carboxylic acid. He also developed a molecular geometric projection system, and helped understand the lock and key mechanism associated with enzymes. Emil _____ also played a role in the discovery of barbiturates.

23. Rutherford, while working with Neils Bohr, postulated the existence of _______, in the nucleus. This was needed to explain the results of the gold foil experiment.



1. Eduard ______ was awarded the 1907 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work with fermentation.

2. Marie Curie was born in ________, the country for which the element Polonium was named after.  Professor Curie is widely considered one of the pioneers of women in the STEM fields.

3. Along with her husband (Pierre), Marie ______, (maiden name Maria Sklodowska) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1911 she would win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

4. Dr. Eduard Buchner demonstrated that yeast cells were not required for ______ .  Dr. Buchner served in WW1 (rank major) and died in battle.

6. The 1903 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Svante Arrhenius. It laid the foundation for the understanding of strong and weak _________, and the dissociation of electrolytes in water, both salts and acids/bases. He collaborated with  Wilhelm Ostwald and Jacobus Henricus van’t Hoff. In 1883 he suggested that sodium chloride split into sodium ions and chloride ions in the aqueous phase, which enhanced the electrical conductivity of the water.

8. Albert Abraham _________ won the 1907 Nobel Prize in physics. He developed the interferometer to measure the speed of light. The interferometer is the instrumental part of the FT-IR (Fourier transform-Infrared spectrometer). FT-IR is widely used in labs around the world.

9. Ernest _______ was born in New Zealand but spent most of his professional life in Canada and the United Kingdom. His work included the discovery of radon (Rn), uncovered that alpha and beta particles were different, and applied the concept of half-lives to radioactive decays.

10. A Curie (abbreviated Ci) is a unit of measuring radioactivity. It is approximately 3.7 x 1010 dps.  The unit dps stands for disintegrations per ____.

11. The element  ___________ , (Rf, Z=104) was named after Ernest Rutherford.

12. The French chemist Ferdinand ________ received the 1906 Nobel Prize for his work isolating fluorine from different molecular species.

15. ______ Prizes were first awarded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1901. Nobel Prizes are awarded in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Peace and Economics.

21. Scientists' from the United States have been awarded seventy-nine Nobel prizes in Chemistry, the most of the any country.  The United Kingdom and ______ are tied for second with 34 Prize recipients. Up to three scientists a year can receive the Prize.


Provide students with blank puzzle and clues. Note there are two versions available. Both versions include clues but the more advanced version does not include a word bank.