Nobel Laureate Crossword Puzzle 1941 - 1950

text: "Nobel Laureates 1941-1950 Crossword" with outline of puzzle and gold medal

Co-authored by Thomas Manning*, Paige Bland*

*Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA

The 1940's were defined worldwide by World War II. Tragic events such as the slaughter of troops in Stalingrad, the extermination of Jews in Nazi concentration camps, atomic bombs being dropped on Japan, and the German U-boat wars that attacked hundreds of allied cargo and military ships defined this decade. The Second Sino-Japanese War also extended into WW2, which resulted in the deaths of twenty million people, mostly citizens. This conflict was the most destructive war in human history.

There were technologies, from jet planes to computers, that were rapidly advanced during this massive conflict. The Messerschmitt was the first jet-powered fighter aircraft, and over 1400 were built, with the first one entering service in 1944. Robert B. Woodward and William von Eggers published the first total synthesis of quinine, a malaria drug. At that time, malaria was rampant, and the primary supply of the drug was extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree. The bark was a source that dramatically limited the drug's availability to soldiers fighting in the South Pacific, where mosquitoes easily transmitted the disease. This natural product synthesis opened the door for an approach to developing new medications. Rubber was extracted from trees that were not accessible due to the Japanese occupying countries in the South Pacific where the tree that produced it was found. The development of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) and radar were also historical advances that continued to grow and alter society after the war. Some of the technologies with radioactive isotopes developed at national labs like Oak Ridge (Tennessee), Los Alamos (New Mexico), and Hanford (now Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Washington state), helped define radioisotopes and their utilization in nuclear medicine.


Nobel Prize


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 1941 - 1950



1. The Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy was a co-discoverer of the element ________, which is a transition metal with 72 protons.

3. Professor _____ was awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize for his work in the field of high energy nuclear reactions. He was unable to travel to Stockholm, Sweden in 1945 to receive it, due to the War across Europe.

7. Chemist and agriculture researcher Artturi ___ invented the method and named it after his initials (Artturi Ilmari __________).

9. The 1944 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Isidor Isaac Rabi “for his resonance method for recording the ____ properties of atomic nuclei.”  His work gave rise to the quantum number “I” or nuclear spin.

10. The current version of AIV liquid is composed of 76% formic acid, 5.5% ________formate, and water. It is an acidic solution.

15. In 1939 this 1946 Nobel Laureate published a book entitled’ Crystalline Enzymes: The Chemistry of Pepsin, Trypsin, and Bacteriophage.   In 1929, John ______ crystallized the enzyme pepsin and later in 1938 purified and crystallized the first bacteriophage.

16. The 1950 Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1950 was awarded to Otto Diels and Kurt Alder in the general area of organic synthesis. The Diels–Alder reaction is a reaction involving an diene and a alkene (aka dienophile), and forms a ________ derivative.

19. Arne Tiselius won the 1948 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his new chemical separation process. It was first described in the literature in 1931, with the classic paper in the field, entitled “A new apparatus for electrophoretic analysis of colloidal mixtures," published in 1937.  The technique is called ________

21. George de Hevesy won the 1944 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work with ______. ________ are radioactive nuclei that are used as a diagnostic tool in medicine.

23. Wendell _______published a book entitled; "Chemistry: A Beautiful Thing," and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He studied the tobacco mosaic virus, which infects tobacco plants.  He was a co-recipient of the 1946 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

27. Oak Ridge National Lab uses a high temperature method to separate isotopes of ______ in the gas phase. _____ is complexed with six atoms of fluorine, forming ________(IV) or hexa fluoride. K-25 was the name of the massive gaseous diffusion plant at ORNL.

28. A nuclear chain reaction can occur if enough fuel, such as uranium or _______, is collided with enough critical mass.

29. The 3rd law of thermodynamics focuses on _____ or disorder of chemical system. It states that as temperature decreases so does ____, and if absolute zero is achieved, that is the only system in which _______ (S) could be zero (0 J/mol K).  Absolute zero is zero degrees Kelvin (0 K), –273.15°C or –459.67°F.  It has never been achieved.

32. Bose-_______ condensate (BEC), a state of matter cooled to near absolute zero (0 K, - 273.15 °C, or - 459.67 °F; K = kelvin). At this temperature the matter becomes a single quantum mechanical state.

33. The neutron, with a mass almost the same as a proton, was utilized by Enrico Fermi to create the new field of nuclear synthesis. Chadwick experimentally verified the neutrons existence. In the late 1930s, Professor ________slammed high energy neutrons into the actinide’s thorium (90 protons) and uranium (92 protons). He discovered that these heavier elements could be split or broken into smaller elements.

34. Isidor ______won the Nobel Prize in 1944 in physics for his work in atomic physics, particularly focused on the magnetic properties of the nucleus.  He conducted his Nobel work at Columbia University in New York City. During World War Dr. Rabi helped develop  radar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and on the Manhattan Project.

36. George de ______ won the 1943 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the development of Radiotracers to study biological processes in animals.



2. The isotopes of hydrogen have _____ spins (I) of 1H (I=1/2); 2H or deuterium (I=1); and tritium or 3H I=1/2); 12C, which is 98.9% of naturally occurring carbon has a ______ spin of I=0; while 13C which is approximately 1.1% of naturally occurring carbon, has a _____ spin of I=1/2.  23Na has a _____ spin of I=3/2 and 27Al has a I=5/2.

4. The 1949 Nobel Peace Prize was unusual in that it was awarded to a scientist named John Boyd Orr. Most Nobel Peace prizes are awarded to organizations, politicians or lawyers. His worked focused on understanding and involving _______, from babies getting the correct milk to farm animals consuming the proper food.

5. In 1926 James B. Sumner showed that the enzyme urease could be isolated and crystallized. Many chemists thought the ________ was impossible. He was one of three recipients of the 1946 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work with protein _________.

6. Molecules that include a radioactive atom are used to study living organisms, from digestive tracts to circulation. This is possible because some elements concentrate in certain parts of the body – _____ in the thyroid, phosphorus in the bones, and potassium in the muscles.

8. Perhaps the most famous oceanographer of all time is Jacques  ________.  He was in the French navy during WW2. In the 1940’s he started to further developed SCUBA, which stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, so longer underwater trips were possible.  His unit was called an aqualung. He developed one of the first underwater films called EPAVE (1943), that can be viewed here (note: it’s in French)

11. When World War II started the U.S. lost access to over ninety percent of natural ______, produced from countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Over 2,000 plants produce latex that contains natural ______. President Franklin D. Roosevelt organized U.S. industries to develop a process to mass produce synthetic ______ for the war effect.

12. ___________ National Lab in northern New Mexico was built during World War 2 to construct the first nuclear weapons.

13. AIV liquid is a preservative that is mixed with green ________ before storage. ______is any agricultural material that is used to feed livestock, such as cattle, sheep, horses, chickens, and pigs. Straw, hay, pellets, oils, grains, and malts can be ________.

14. In 1945 the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Sir Alexander _____, Sir Howard Florey and Dr. E. Chain.  Fleming discovered penicillin in 1929 by isolating it from a mold, and showed it had anti-bacterial properties.  Florey and Chain would expand on this work and help develop a method to mass produce the antibiotic medicine, the first of its kind in the history of humanity.

17. Chain and Florey, 1946 Novel Laureates in Medicine, published a paper in 1940 describing the production, purification, and experimental use of _______ .  It has the ability to protect animals infected with bacterium such as Staphylococcus aureus. This resulted in the first large scale production of an antibiotic for human use, and saved many lives in WWII.

18. William _____won the 1949 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work at extremely low temperatures that involved entropy measurements of crystals.

20. Ruth Rogan Benerito was a scientist that conducted applied research for the ______ industry. After WW2 she developed technology that spanned basic chemical research and applied engineering to produce ______ fabrics that were wrinkle free and flame resistant.

22. The 1947 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Robert Robinson for his work with ______.  ______ are a group of nitrogen containing molecules, extracted from plants that impact humans.  Examples include morphine, quinine, atropine, and strychnine.

24. War accelerated the development of some needed technologies.  DDT was the first large scale insecticide developed, and it reduced mosquito populations in regions where malaria was rampant.  It was developed in the 1940’s and was used to reduce malaria and typhus. The synthesis of the drug _____ was also a critical break through and helped treat many troops with malaria in the south Pacific theater

25. The 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature to William _____, who some rank as the most significant American author in history. His writings range from popular novels such as The Sound and the Fury: ….. to collections of stories co-authored with other authors (i.e. A Treasury of Civil War Stories).

26. Radioactive isotopes, such as Iodine-131 in the thyroid and _______-32, are used in medical diagnostic procedures.

30. No _______Prizes were awarded in 1940, 1941, and 1942 due to World War II.

31. Hafnium (Hf) has a large neutron capture _________. Because of this feature, it is used in control rods in nuclear power plants.

35. An American physician and medical researcher, Charles Drew is credited with being the inventor of the ______ bank.


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.