Nobel Laureate Crossword Puzzle 1931 - 1940

medal, crossword and text "Nobel Laureates 1931-1940 Crossword"

Co-authored by Thomas Manning*, Paige Bland*

*Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA

The 1930’s were tumultuous times. The Great Depression crippled economies around the world and World War II was taking shape. The Second Sino-Japanese War started in 1937 when an incident in Peking resulted in a full scale invasion. The invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and the Slovak Republic in 1939 started World War II in Europe. In 1933 Einstein moved from Germany to Princeton University in New Jersey due to the anti-Semitic policies being implemented by the Nazis. The financial collapse and the War impacted the same countries that had significant scientific communities. In this decade airplane and helicopter technology advanced. Lindbergh flew the transatlantic flight in 1927 and ignited a boom. Antibiotics were not yet mass produced meaning a simple infection could be deadly. In 1935 the life expectancy for men was 57, women 61 and retirement age was 65! Agriculture techniques improved after the Great Dust Bowl, which stretched several years in the 1930’s, destroyed the farm lands of the southern Midwest. Television became available on a very limited scale in the 1920’s, and the technology and its implementation increased throughout the 1930’s.


Here you will find 


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.

Our first educational puzzle submitted to ChemEd X was developed during the pandemic and focused on infectious diseases (see Using an Abbreviation Puzzle as a Method to Familiarize Students with Infectious Diseases)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 Turning Element Abbreviations into a Strategic Exercise). Read this post for more information about the educational benefits of using puzzles.


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. 

Nobel Prizes 1931 - 1940


2. The 1939 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Ernest Lawrence for the invention of the ______, which was used for the creation of new elements and isotopes.

5. The 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for the nuclear synthesis of new elements. The prize was awarded to Frédéric Joliot and Irène Joliot-Curie. Irène Curie was the daughter of Pierre and Marie Curie. Their work included the development of the  ________ of elements or a change of the nucleus.

6. The 1931 Prize focused on incorporating high pressures in chemical reactions. The reactions were carried out on an industrial scale and used to make _______ based fertilizers.

8. During the depression, WPA projects included building almost 100,000 miles of road, 3,500 fire towers, planting three _____ trees, the creation of over 700 state parks, and employing three million men to do the work.

13. The 1939 Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Adolf Butenandt and Leopold _____ for their work on sex hormones.

14. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1931 was awarded to Otto Heinrich ______.  The Warburg effect was named after him, and it focused on the chemistry behind the high energy needs of cancer cells.

15. Protons and neutrons are held together in the nucleus by the ____ force.

17. Richard Kuhn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938 for his work on _______.  _______ are a class of yellow, orange, and red pigments which give some plants their color.

22. During the depression, many workers lost their jobs.  The federal Works Progress or Projects Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were created by President Franklin D. _______in 1935.  It was designed to pull the nation out of the Depression.

24. Harold Urey won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He worked on several groundbreaking experiments, including the discovery of ______ (an isotope of hydrogen) and the separation of uranium isotopes.

25. The 1935 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to James Chadwick for the discovery (experimental evidence) of the ____ .

26. The 1936 Nobel Prize in Physiology was awarded to Henry Dale and Otto Loewi for their work with the ______ transmission involving nerve impulses.

28. Irving _____  was born in Brooklyn, New York, and won the 1932 Nobel Prize in chemistry. His studies often focused on unusual observations in vacuums.

29. Vitamin B12, also known as _______, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is also involved in the metabolism of lipids, amino acids, carbohydrates, and genetic structures. Vitamin B12 has a corrin ring that holds the Co atom with 4 nitrogen atoms from one ring and a 5th nitrogen that is part of a bridge. (hard to describe the structure in words, google it!!)

31. Water has a bond angle of 104.5 degrees. The _____moment in a water molecule is 1.84 Debye or 1.84 D.

32. _______is a synthetic chemical element with the symbol Lr and atomic number 103.  It was named for Ernest Lawrence, who worked at Berkeley.

34. The 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Victor Hess for the discovery of _______ rays. _____ rays are a type of high energy radiation that come from outside of our solar system.

37. A positively charged electron is called a _____

38. ______ is a general term that’s used to describe the many different forms of vitamin B9.

39. Schrödinger and ______ won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their groundbreaking work with atomic theory.  The famous _____ equation was described by Einstein as “the most logically perfect presentation of quantum mechanics''

40. _______ cat: a cat, a poison, and a radioactive source are in a box. This thought experiment was discussed with Einstein in 1935 and thought to expose a weakness in quantum theory.

41. Some of the great novels of the 1930's included Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell,  As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Dashiell Hammetts' The Maltese Falcon, and the science fiction classic, Brave New World by Aldous ______.  (Part of this clue is to encourage you to read one of these classics!)



1. Heisenberg was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1932. In many general chemistry books, there is a section that discusses the Heisenberg ________ principle, which is a foundation concept for atomic physics and quantum mechanics.

3. This element is an actinide and has two famous isotopes, 235 and 238. It is ____

4. Haworth and Karrer won the 1937 Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work with _________.  Much of the work focused on how they behaved on a molecular level. This work was very difficult because computers, electronics, large-scale data collection and processing instruments, etc., were yet to be developed.

7. The repeating unit of the Nylon-6,6 _______, is [NH(CH2)6NH-CO(CH2)4CO]

9. ________ make up protons and neutrons, which make up an atom's nucleus.

10. ____is an antibacterial drug of the sulfonamide group. It was identified in the late 1930s but is now rarely used because better options exist. Penicillin would be the first antibiotic that was mass produced and effective. This would not happen until the 1940s.

11. CERN stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche _____.  Its purpose is to conduct world class physics research. CERN sits on the French-Swiss border and runs the largest particle physics lab in the world.

12. The 1940 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was not _____.

16. The 1932 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine recipients were Charles Sherrington and Edgar  Adrian for their pioneering work with _____.

18. Irving Langmuir was the 1932 Nobel Prize winner for chemistry. He worked at several institutions, including the General Electric Company. His hobbies were skiing, flying and _______

19. Peter ____ won the 1936 Nobel Prize for his work with molecular structures.  This included the distribution of electrons in a molecule that resulted in a dipole moment.

20. A high energy electron that is part of a nuclear reaction is called a _____ particle.

21. The biggest projects undertaken during the depression (in the U.S.) included the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys, the Lincoln tunnel between NJ and NY, the Smoky Mountains National Park, the Hoover Dam, and the Grand _____ Dam.  Many of these projects resulted in new inventions and pushed new technologies.

23. In 1929, ____ isolated estrone from the urine of pregnant women.  In the late 1950s, ______ extracted the sexual attractant of a silk moth and called it pheromone.

24. The 1939 Prize in Medicine was awarded to Gerhard ____ for the discovery of the antibiotic effects of Prontosil. At this time, it was not mass produced, and many people died from infections in simple cuts.  Many bacterial infections throughout the course of humanity were quite deadly. It is estimated that 1 in 7 humans died from the bacterial infection tuberculosis. Not until the 1950s and 60s would drugs exist that could cure patients of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections.

25. In 1935, Wallace Carothers and DuPont Labs invented the polymer _________ .

27. Enrico ____ was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics for the synthesis of new elements and isotopes using high energy neutrons.

29. ____ is a radioactive chemical element with the symbol Cm and atomic number 96. It was named after Marie and Pierre Curie.

30. The 1929 Stock Market Crash occurred when Wall Street investors traded millions of shares on the New York Stock _____.  Billions of dollars were lost. This was the start of the Great Depression, which stretched well into the 1930s and contributed to the start of WWII.

33. In 1954, the ___-Urey experiment was published, over 20 years after Urey won the Nobel Prize. This was an origin of life experiment that examined how some basic molecules essential for life, such as amino acids, could form in lightning.

35. A cat is locked into a metal box that has a hammer, a tube of hydrocyanic acid, and some radioactive substance. This is the beginning of the famous Schrödinger's _____  hypothetical experiment.

36. The 1931 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Carl ____ Friedrich Bergius.



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.