No Silver Medal for Nobel Prize Contenders: Why Anesthesia Pioneers Were Nominated for but Denied the Award

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Abstract

Taking the examples of the pioneers Carl Ludwig Schleich, Carl Koller, and Heinrich Braun, this article provides a first exploratory account of the history of anesthesiology and the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine. Besides the files collected at the Nobel Archive in Sweden, which are presented here for the first time, this article is based on medical literature of the early 20th century. Using Nobel Prize nominations and Nobel committee reports as points of departure, the authors discuss why no anesthesia pioneer has received this coveted trophy. These documents offer a new perspective to explore and to better understand aspects of the history of anesthesiology in the first half of the 20th century.

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