Nobel Laureate Crossword Puzzle 2000 - 2009

Nobel Laureate Crossword Puzzle 2000 - 2009 preview image with outline of crossword puzzle, Nobel prize award and gold medal graphic

The decade from 2000 to 2009 is one that brings back memories for most of the ChemEd X readers, whether they be teachers or students. The current events, popular songs, movies, books, sports figures and events in our own lives are still alive in our memories. From a STEM perspective, events ranging from the International Space Station (ISS) being setup to the explosion of the U.S. space shuttle Columbia in 2003 captured the world's attention. The Iraqi War, the invasion of Afghanistan and the 9/11 disaster would be intertwined for the entire decade. 

On a personal note, my wife and I went to New York City (my hometown) to buy a diamond in the diamonds district in Manhattan and later that date (1990) we were engaged on the top of the Twin Towers in a restaurant called Windows over the World. I also lost friends on 9/11, firemen and businessmen. To many of us these international events bring out unique emotions.

Many of these STEM related activities were not always great scientific breakthroughs or new technology. Geologist Paul Crutzen used the term Anthropocene, which defines the human impact on the planet as a new era. The Three Gorges Dam in China was completed in 2006 and set records for power production. The documentary film by Vice President Al Gore called An Inconvenient Truth was released in 2006 and raised numerous environmental issues. Watch a trailer of the video

A number of animals went extinct during this decade, include the majestic looking Pyrenean ibex which went extinct in 2000.  New medications were discovered and brought to market during this decade. For example, Bevacizumab (Avastin) is a monoclonal antibody that is used to treat different types of cancers. Linagliptin (aka Tradjenta), is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, and was in clinical trials through the decade. New diabetes medications are correlated with a growing health care problem in our country. For good, bad, or evil, chemistry was involved in all of these events.


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. 



2. Dr. Nurse, Dr. Hartwell and Dr. Hunt were awarded the 2001 Physiology or Medicine Nobel Prize for their research with protein molecules that control cell _______.

4. Professor Robert Grubbs and Professor Richard ______ expanded on the work of Dr. Chauvin, and all three chemists shared the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. They developed new catalysts improved on Dr. Chauvin's, resulting in a more efficient process.

5. "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2008 was divided; one half awarded to Harald zur Hausen "for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer", the other half jointly to Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier "for their discovery of human _________ virus" (from

6. Professor Paul Lauterbur and Dr. Peter Mansfield won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2003 for the development  of Magnetic ______ Imaging (MRI).

7. The 4 papers Einstein published in 1905 that were major developments included; (i) the Photoelectric Effect; (ii) ________ motion; (iii) theory of Special Relativity; and (iv) the mass-energy relationship expressed in E = mc2.

9. The formal ceremony for the Nobel Prize awards takes place in the Oslo City (Norway). The hosts include members of the ______ royal family.

10. In January of 2004, two rovers (USA) landed on Mars. The rovers Spirit and _______ landed on opposite sides of the planet. Since that time they have returned data that redefined our knowledge of the planet.

11. Dr. Masatoshi Koshiba was a founder of neutrino astronomy. He, along with Dr. Ray Davis, won the 2002 Physics Nobel Prize for experimental work that detected solar ________.

12. Dr. Albert Fert  and Dr. Peter Grünberg won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work with giant ______.  This work laid the foundation for gigabyte hard disks.

15. Ion channels are between 0.4 to 1.2 ________ in diameter. Ion channel are defined by proteins that allow specific ions to cross a cell membrane, in some cases at rates up to one hundred million ions per second. (100,000,000 ions/s)

16. The Bose-Einstein condensate is a state of matter in which atoms whose temperature is reduced to almost absolute zero (0 Kelvin, - 273.15 °C,- 460 °F).  In this state the atoms become a single ______ entity.

17. RNA is involved in multiple functions in living cells, such as;  protein synthesis, genetic information carrier, and gene _______ regulation.

21. Ribosomes are composed of _____ and proteins that are located in the cytoplasm of living cells.

27. ______ is a well known online lending organization that makes microloans to small businesses located in some of the poorest areas on the planet. Approximately 80% of their recipients are women. (Hint, sometimes groups of students will get together and make small loans to these businesses. They have a very high repayment rate). This effort resulted in a Nobel Prize in Economics.

30. Ubiquitin is a regulatory protein (8.6 kDa) located in most ______ organisms.

31. In 1995 Eric Cornell was able to synthesize the 1st Bose–Einstein _________.  He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with two other scientists who also conducted ultra-low temperature physics. (Dr. Wolfgang Ketterle and Dr. Carl Wieman).

32. In 2003, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), appeared in Asia. It is a ______infection caused by the coronavirus.

33. Gnarls Barkley song ‘Crazy’, was rated by _____ Stone magazine as the top song from 2000-2009.

35. In 2005, Hurricane ______ became the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history. It hit the Gulf coast of the southern U.S., and caused large scale devastation in New Orleans.

39. Dr. Raymond Davis won a Nobel Prize in Physics for the _______ experiment which resulted in the detection of neutrinos emitted from the sun (awarded 2002).

42. Muhammad Yunus was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics. He founded the _______ Bank, which was based on the concepts of microcredit and microfinance.

43. The top 10 buildings of the decade (2000-2009) were ranked by Jon Glancey. The #1 building was the ______ Dome, in London. It has a diameter of 365 meters and was nicknamed the Giant JellyFish by some.

44. Dr. Thomas Steitz was a recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the ribosome. He worked with colleagues to unravel the structure of the 50S ribosomal subunit. The structure was determined using X-ray __________, the same technique used by Watson and Crick for their groundbreaking work with DNA.

45. Dr. Peter Agre and Dr. Roderick MacKinnon won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2003) for their research and discovery of ion _______ located in cell membranes.

46. USB, or universal _______ bus, is used to connect external  devices to computers.

47. The bright green fluorescent protein (GFP, 2008 Nobel Prize), was first measured in a _____ (Aequorea victoria), in the early 1960's. It would later become useful in medical diagnostic procedures, which resulted in a Nobel Prize.

49. In terms of new countries formed during this decade (2000-2009); Kosovo separated from Serbia (2008); Montenegro split from Serbia ( 2006); East Timor became a country (2002), and Serbia left  _______ (2000).

50. Dr. Koichi Tanaka won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (shared with 2 others) for a mass spec ionization technique known as soft laser _______ (SLD).

52. Dr. Kurt Wüthrich won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He developed a _______ Magnetic Resonance (aka NMR) method to deduce the structures of biological macromolecules.

53. Dr. Gerhard Ertl won the 2007 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his research related to chemical reactions on ______ surfaces.



1. "The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2000 jointly to  Alan J. Heeger, Alan G. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa for the discovery and development of conductive _______”. (from

3. Dr. Andrew Fire and Dr. Craig Mello were awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of RNA  __________ (RNAi).

4. Dr. Karl Sharpless won two Nobel Prizes in Chemistry. In 2001 he was awarded 1/2 of the Prize for his research on _______ reactions.

8. Dr. Ada Yonath was one of three recipients of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her primary area of research was understanding the structure of _______at a molecular level.

10. One description the Nobel committee used to outline Dr. Ertl's Nobel award winning research is “Surface chemistry can even explain the destruction of the ______ layer, as vital steps in the reaction actually take place on the surfaces of small crystals of ice in the stratosphere”.

13. Dr. John Fenn won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his invention; Electrospray _______ (ESI). It is a widely used ionization technique that is coupled with mass spectrometry.

14. Dr. John Fenn, the inventor, would have a legal battle with ____ University over the ownership of the intellectual property (IP) related to ElectroSpray Ionization (ESI).

18. Reverse _____ is the process of copying RNA information to DNA. The catalyst of the reaction is called reverse ______ enzymes.

19. The 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Dr. Roger Kornberg. He was the sole recipient of the chemistry prize that year. His work centered on a process where genetic information from DNA is copied to RNA or __________nucleic acid.

20. Dr. Sharpless, along with Dr. Marie Curie, Dr. John ______, Dr. Linus Pauling and Dr. Frederick Sanger, were awarded two (different topics) Nobel Prizes.

22. The term "annus mirabilis papers" describes four papers Albert ______ published in 1905. It is also referred to as the "miracle year". 2005 was the 100 year anniversary of this extraordinary achievement.

23. Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with two other scientists. His research focused on understanding the structure and ________ of ribosomes.

24. _______ Prize

25. _______ ion channels are found in most organisms. They are  pores that span cell membranes. Nobel laureate Roderick MacKinn studied this specific cell membrane entity.

26. President ________ Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." (from

28. In a case of bioterrorism, letters that were laced with ______ were delivered to a U.S. media company and the offices of U.S. Senators. This took place in 2002.

29. The 2001 Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Dr.  Knowles and Dr. Noyori for their research in the field of asymmetric synthesis with a focus on _____________ reactions.

34. In 2004, the Great Sand _____, located near Alamosa (a town with 10,000 residents), was designated a National Park. Located in Colorado, it has sand dunes over 700 feet high. Human habitation in this area dates back 11,000 years.

36. From 2000 to 2009, some of the most popular books included; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Kite Runner, Life of Pi, The Da Vinci Code, and The ______ Saga.

37. President Jimmy ______ was born and raised in Plains, Georgia. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis). In the Navy, he was assigned to submarines, including nuclear subs. He won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

38. The Intergovernmental Panel on _______ Change (IPCC) shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with U.S. Vice President Al Gore. The IPCC is an intergovernmental body associated with the United Nations (UN).

40. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008 was awarded jointly to Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie and Roger Y. Tsien "for the discovery and development of the Green ________ Protein, GFP". (from

41. Roderick MacKinnon and Peter Agre won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work outlining the structural and ______ aspects of ion channels.

48. ESI allowed _______ to be ionized and introduced into a mass spectrometer (MS). This allowed for more accurate masses to be determined, when compared to other techniques.

51. The first _____ flash drive was released in 2000.


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.