Which Nobel Laureate are you most closely connected to?

+11 votes

This week in the Connection Finder, we're featuring Nobel Laureates, starting with Marie Curie, Nobel Prize winner in Physics for her research on radioactivity. We want to honor the recently awarded Nobel Prizes and Alfred Nobel's birthday.

Featured alongside her are others who've won Nobel prizes:

  • John Northrop, Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work with enzymes, proteins, and viruses.
  • Sir Lawrence Bragg, Nobel Prize in Physics for work on crystal structures by means of X-rays.
  • Gerty Radnitz Cori, Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the discovery of the mechanism by which glycogen—a derivative of glucose—is broken down in muscle tissue into lactic acid and then resynthesized in the body and stored as a source of energy (known as the Cori cycle).
  • Svante Arrhenius, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, "in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered to the advancement of chemistry by his electrolytic theory of dissociation."
  • Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Nobel Prize in Literature "as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit."
  • Albert Michelson, Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the speed of light.
  • Guglielmo Marconi, Nobel Prize in Physics for work in wireless telegraphy.
  • Pearl S. Buck, Nobel Prize in Literature for "The Good Earth's" description of rural life in China.
  • Sinclair Lewis, Nobel Prize in Literature "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters" (following the publication of "Dodsworth").
  • Roger Sperry, Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for split-brain research.
  • George Beadle, Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for work in genetics.

Who are you most closely connected to? If you're one of the 23,937,000 of us who are connected to each other on our big tree you can check with the Connection Finder.

You can check for shared ancestors with the Relationship Finder. Are you a cousin to any of them? Your Relationship Finder Quick Links page (see your profile pull-down menu under "Relationships") has quick links for several notable groups.

Special feature: Check out how you're connected to other Nobel Laureates by searching the Nobel Laureates category and related categories like Physicists and Authors using the green MyConnections button in the upper right hand corner of the page.

Let us know how you're related below! If you want to share your connection on social media with cousins and friends, click the "get shareable image" below the results, e.g. Marie Curie and Alfred Nobel. Then just upload it along with the URL of your direct connection. (Please refrain from sharing your connection on the featured profiles themselves, though. It clutters conversations on research and collaboration. Thanks!)

Help us with next week's feature: Witch Trials! Help us choose and improve profiles for it.

WikiTree profile: Marie Curie
in The Tree House by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (477k points)
edited by Abby Glann

23 Answers

+5 votes
I'm closest, at 19 degrees to Sinclair Lewis and Albert Michelson.  No direct relationship with either of them.
by Mark Weinheimer G2G6 Pilot (452k points)
+7 votes
I am most closely connected to Roger Sperry at 22 degrees.
by Samantha Thomson G2G6 Pilot (116k points)
+6 votes

I am most closely connected to Albert Michelson at 16 degrees of separation.

by Tommy Buch G2G6 Pilot (410k points)
edited by Tommy Buch
+8 votes
Pearl S. Buck is only 13 steps, and a 4th cousin 3 times removed!  That's pretty cool, and even someone whose work I have read.  I should probably re-read The Good Earth, as it has been decades.

Roger Sperry was another good find.  Not so close, at 20 steps, but also a distant cousin.  The fun thought is that I could easily have walked into his office when I was in college, and said "Hi, I'm your 10th cousin once removed."

Of course the problem with people that smart is that by the time you get the sentence out of your mouth they have already realized that 10th cousin means we share about 1 in 2^20 base pairs, or 1024^2, or less than 1 in a million.
by Steve Ryan G2G6 Mach 2 (20.2k points)
What fun, to have Pearl as a 4th cousin!  I recently re-read the Good Earth this year.
I just found my grandmother's well-worn 1936 copy of The Exile.  Grandmother would have been the author's 4th cousin once removed, and just 7 years younger.  It is unlikely that she would have known of the relationship.

I think there was a copy of The Good Earth in a similar binding, but it hasn't turned up yet.
+8 votes

17 degrees from Albert Michelson
17 degrees from Gerty Cori
19 degrees from Roger Sperry (7th cousins, 5x removed)
19 degrees from George Beadle (7th cousins, 4x removed)
19 degrees from Pearl S. Buck
19 degrees from Sinclair Lewis (13th cousins, 4x removed)
20 degrees from Marie Curie
22 degrees from Guglielmo Marconi
26 degrees from Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
26 degrees from Lawrence Bragg
30 degrees from Svante Arrhenius

by Mike Wells G2G6 Mach 5 (51.2k points)
+8 votes
18 degrees from Marie Curie.

19 degrees from Pearl S. Buck.

20 degrees from Sinclair Lewis.

20 degrees from Guglielmo Marconi.

20 degrees from Albert Michelson.

20 degrees from Roger Sperry. 16th cousin 3 times removed. MRCA Alice de Stourton (abt 1350 - 1407.)

21 degrees from Lawrence Bragg.

21 degrees from Gerty Cori.

22 degrees from George Beadle.

25 degrees from Bjorn Bjornstjerne.

33 degrees from Svante Arrhenius.
by Frank Blankenship G2G6 Mach 3 (32.0k points)
+10 votes
Best of the list at 27 (Pearl  Buck). But Frits Zernike and van der Waals both at 14. And Turing Prize winner Edsger Dijkstra at 11.
by W Koster G2G6 (9.6k points)
+9 votes
17 degrees from Guglielmo Marconi and 19 degrees from each of Albert Michelson and Pearl Buck.
by Roger Stong G2G6 Pilot (182k points)
+9 votes

What I found most interesting (maybe serendipity) is that I am 17 degrees from Roger Sperry. We are 8th cousins 2x removed from Jane (Unknown) Barber. Why interesting? I did my doctoral work in biological psychology at the University of Arizona and Roger Sperry's 'split-brain' work was a major impetus in my doctoral work! And to find that we are cousins just sweetens the experience!

There are several other Nobel Laureates that are within a few degrees, including:

17 degrees from Sinclair Lewis; 18 degrees from Albert Michelson; 19 degrees from George Beadle; 20 degrees from Marie Curie.


by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (542k points)
edited by Carol Baldwin
Wow, what a wonderful find!
+8 votes
I am most closely related to Pearl S. Buck at 14 degrees, but not directly.
by Carol Conroy G2G Crew (990 points)
+8 votes
In 9th grade, we watched "The Good Earth". (It took a couple of days)

I wonder what I would have thought if I knew I was only 16 degrees from Pearl Buck.

As I got older, I read some of her other books.

It's so amazing how we are all connected in one way or another.
by Terrie Tays G2G1 (1.5k points)
+9 votes

I am most closely connected to Paul Dirac my 3rd cousin 3x removed through my Cornish ancestors.  While he has a French-sounding name, he was born in Bristol, UK to a Swiss father and Cornish mother.  His wife was Hungarian.  I found the connection a couple of years ago, but I had to add the 2 missing links (his grandmother and great grandmother) into WikiTree today so that the connection came up.  The next closest is Winston Churchill (15th cousins).

But that's new.. 20th cousins 4x removed to Barack Obama.. and 22nd cousins to Jimmy Carter.  and 22nd cousins 3x removed to Martin Luther King... 

11 generations   Find Relationship   Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (1902-1984)
32 generations   Find Relationship   Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill KG OM CH (1874-1965)
40 generations   Find Relationship   Alan Lloyd Hodgkin (1914-1998)
44 generations   Find Relationship   John Howard Northrop (1891-1987)
45 generations   Find Relationship   Frank Billings Kellogg (1856-1937)
45 generations   Find Relationship   Willis Eugene Lamb Jr. (1913-2008)
46 generations   Find Relationship   Jimmy Carter Jr.
46 generations   Find Relationship   Barack Obama Jr.
47 generations   Find Relationship   Ernest Miller Hemingway (1899-1961)
47 generations   Find Relationship   Al Gore Jr
49 generations   Find Relationship   Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
(list shortened to fit...)

by Oliver Slay G2G Crew (880 points)
+7 votes
Most closely connected at 17 degrees with Albert Michelson.  He married my 6th cousin, 3 times removed.

Cousins from this group:

Roger Sperry--8th cousins, once removed

George Beadle--8th cousins, twice removed

John Northrup--11th cousins, twice removed

Sinclair Lewis--13th cousins, twice removed
by Cheryl Cruise G2G6 Mach 4 (47.8k points)
+6 votes
I'm 21 degrees from Marie Curie

the closest ones I'm related to:

I'm 7th cousins once removed:  Winston Churchill

 7th cousins three times removed:  Robert Andrews Millikan.
by Judy Adden G2G2 (2.3k points)
+6 votes
My mom was thrilled to find our she was 13 degrees from Pearl S. Buck because as a young adult, she had read all of her books and adored her writing!
by Christine Miller G2G6 (7.0k points)
+3 votes
George Beadle is the closest in this group, at 16 steps. He is also a 7th cousin, 2x removed.

I did not recognize his name, but my mother likely would have known it. She worked as a field technician in corn breeding research for one or two summers in the 1940s.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+4 votes
He isn't on the list, but the only Nobel laureate in my family (that I know of) is Dag Hammarskjold.  We're fifth cousins four times removed.
by K. Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (127k points)
+5 votes
I’m closest to Marie Curie with 19 degrees
by Janet Jones G2G Crew (700 points)
+3 votes
My closest connection is 18 Degrees from Chris Ferrariolo - but I dont count that because that is through my French Canadian spouse and Chris also has French Canadian ancestry!!

My closest personal connection is 19 degrees from Pearl S. Buck through my mothers paternal line - the one we spent years looking for and finally found through DNA in 2018.

All of my other connections are 20 degrees or higher.
by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (945k points)

Chris Ferraiolo isn't a Nobel laureate (he is "merely" member of the week cool), but that Pearl S. Buck connection is great to hear about!

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