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Record five women win Nobel prizes this year

world Updated: Oct 12, 2009 23:07 IST
Stockholm
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A record five women won Nobel prizes this year, beating the previous record of three, with Elinor Ostrom of the United States becoming the first woman to win the Economics Prize on Monday.

Last week, Romanian-born German author Herta Mueller won the Nobel Literature Prize, after Ada Yonath of Israel was one of three scientists recognised for her work in chemistry.

Two other women, Australian-American Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider of the United States, were awarded the Nobel Medicine Prize with US researcher Jack Szostak.

Until now, the highest number of women honoured in one year was three, in 2004. American Linda Buck won for medicine, Elfriede Jelinek of Austria was awarded the Nobel for literature and Kenyan Wangari Maathai was given the Nobel Peace Prize.

The first woman to clinch a Nobel prize was Marie Curie, who was awarded the physics prize in 1903 with her husband Pierre and Antoine Henri Becquerel.

Curie is also the only woman to have been awarded two Nobel prizes, having also won for chemistry in 1911.

Overall, the Nobel prize has been bestowed upon 40 women 41 times, including Curie's two awards.