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Science and literature

Spanish Nobel Prizes

Since its establishment in 1901, Nobel Prizes have been presented to six Spaniards, five of which were in the category of Literature and another in Medicine.

The first Nobel Prize awarded to a Spaniard went to the playwright José Echegaray (1904). This award was in recognition of the brilliance of his works, in which he portrayed and brought to life the tradition of Spanish drama from the 16th century. Two years later in 1906, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Santiago Ramón y Cajal in recognition of his pioneering work in the study of the nervous system. In 1959, another researcher, Severo Ochoa, received the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine, which he shared with a former student: the American Arthur Kornberg. Before that, in 1922, the Nobel Prize for Literature was presented to the playwright Jacinto Benavente for the manner in which he continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama. In 1956, the Prize for Literature went to the writer Juan Ramón Jiménez for his lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity. In 1977, another great poet , Vicente Aleixandre, was rewarded for his lifetime's work with the Nobel Prize. The Swedish Academy awarded the Prize in recognition of his creative poetry, 'which illuminates man's condition in the cosmos and in present-day society'. The last Spaniard to be awarded this distinction is Camilo José Cela, presented in 1989 for a rich and intensive prose, 'which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability'.