International Orthopaedics

, Volume 42, Issue 12, pp 2957–2960 | Cite as

Excellence in orthopaedic surgery: an overview of Nobel Prize nominees 1901–1960 with focus on Friedrich Pauwels and Gerhard Küntscher

  • Nils HanssonEmail author
Orthopaedic Heritage



This paper provides for the first time an overview of orthopaedic surgeons nominated for the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine during the first six decades of the twentieth century. The study is part of the project “Enacting Excellency: Nobel Prize nominations for surgeons 1901-1960”.


The nomination letters were gathered in the archive of the Nobel Committee at the Karolinska Institute in Solna, Sweden.


Among the nominees, we find renowned scholars like Pierre Delbet, Themistocles Gluck, Gerhard Küntscher, Adolf Lorenz, Friedrich Pauwels, Leslie Rush, and Marius Smith-Petersen. The focus of the paper is on nominations for Pauwels (work on biomechanics) and Küntscher (the Küntscher nail). Both were nominated by German surgeons.


Although no orthopaedic surgeon has yet received a Nobel Prize for an orthopaedic achievement, Nobel archive files can help reconstruct important trends in the field during the twentieth century.


Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine Excellence in orthopaedic surgery Adolf Lorenz Themistocles Gluck Friedrich Pauwels Gerhard Küntscher 



Files on surgeons were kindly provided by the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, Medicinska Nobelinstitutet, Solna, Sweden. All translations from German into English were done by the author.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.


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Copyright information

© SICOT aisbl 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medicine, Faculty of MedicineHeinrich-Heine-University DuesseldorfDuesseldorfGermany

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