Nobel Prize is one of the most revered honours a person can receive in his lifetime. While talking about Nobel Laureates, we often imagine the person to be highly educated in his field. However, you would be surprised to know that some of these noble prize winners were a college or school dropout. Here is a list of 10 Nobel Prize winners who, in fact, did not pursue higher studies:
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish dramatist, critic, pundit, and polemicist whose works impacted the Western theater, culture, and legislative issues from the 1880s to till date. He was homeschooled by his uncle before attending different government schools. Due to miserable family condition, he left his education at 15 and started to work. In the year 1876, he moved to London and started working in theatres. His plays and scripts were fixated on social issues. Shaw was granted the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925, 13 years after receiving an Academy Award for “Greatest Tailored Screenplay” for the motion picture adjustment of his play “Pygmalion”.
Joseph Brodsky was one of the most famous poets of the mid 20th century. Born on 24 May 1940, in Leningrad, he dropped out of the school at the age of fifteen. After this, he took various jobs and taught himself Polish and English. He also spent some time receiving training under Russian poet Anna Akhmatova before being exiled from the Soviet Union in 1972. After this, he moved to the United States where he composed nine volumes of poetry and became a professor at the Columbia University as well as the Mount Holyoke College. In 1987, he received the noble prize for literature.
Born on September 25, 1897, William Faulkner was one of the greatest novelists and poets in the history of America, who was granted the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949. His parents were avid readers and good painters who taught him the basics of writing and painting. In the year 1919, Faulkner, who was then a student of University of Mississippi, wrote for the college newspaper, the Mississippian and submitted his first published poems and short works. However, after three semesters, he dropped out and started working as a bookseller’s assistant. He went ahead to distribute various books and dedicated himself in close segregation to writing. His works investigated the social and political issues of the time.
Harry Martinson was born in 1904 to a Swedish family. Both of his parents died during his early childhood and thus he was raised in an orphanage. At the age of 16, he eloped from there and started working on ships. After working for six years, he wrote various poetry and novels based on his own experiences. His writing was also motivated by scientific innovations and concern for the nature. Martinson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature along with Eyvind Johnson in 1974.
Jose Saramago was born in 1922 to poor farmer parents in Portuguese. Because of the miserable economic condition of the family, he was forced to leave the school and did a series of jobs as a mechanical and metalworker. In the year 1969, he joined the Portuguese Communist Party and published several volumes of poems. In 1974, he started working as an editor of the Lisbon newspaper. But soon he lost the position due to the anticommunist backlash and started writing novels that eventually establish his international reputation. His novels received mass appreciation from the millennial generation and still stands among the best-selling books. He was granted the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988.
We all know him as the novel prize-winning physicist who proposed the Law of Photoelectric effect. But do you know that he was not a born genius, and was a below-average student who used to fail in all subjects except physics and mathematics? At the age of 15, he was expelled from the school. After one year, he took Swiss Federal Polytechnic entrance examination and flunked. However later, he managed to obtain higher studies but that too with poor grades.
These were some noble laureates who proved to be successful in their respective fields in spite of being dropouts. This teaches us that knowledge does not come with a college degree, rather it can be acquired practically.
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