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Photos: Moungi Bawendi’s first day as a Nobel laureate

A look at how the MIT professor spent his day after learning he had won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
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Moungi Bawendi sits on a sofa in his living room, looking at laptop in front of him on a coffee table, speaking into a cell phone. Rachel Zimmerman sits in the background taking his photo on her cellphone. There is a bottle of champagne on the coffee table.
It was an early start for Moungi Bawendi and his wife, Rachel Zimmerman, as they celebrated his receipt of a Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
Photo: Jodi Hilton

Today, MIT Professor Moungi Bawendi won a share of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for his role in developing quantum dots — nanoscale particles that can emit exceedingly bright light. Bawendi, a professor of chemistry who has been on the MIT faculty since 1990, told MIT News this morning that he felt “surprise and shock” upon receiving the call from the Nobel committee from his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, adding, “It was such an honor to wake up to.”

The following images provide a brief snapshot of his first day as a Nobel laureate.

Photo of Moungi Bawendi smiling while seated on a couch with the text from @NobelPrize: “Say hello! Moungi Bawendi got an early morning call from Stockholm breaking the news that he is one of the 2023 chemistry laureates. How is he celebrating this morning? Teaching his MIT class at 9. We'll be sharing his first reaction very soon."
Post on X via @NobelPrize

Early this morning, Bawendi received a phone call from Nobel Prize officials in Sweden, letting him know that he had won a share of this year’s chemistry prize. Hear some of his first reactions via a Nobel Prize phone interview.

Three people seated at a table in conference room, with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners projected on screen behind them
Image via Nobel Prize

Bawendi took his first questions from the media during a 5:45 a.m. (ET) press conference hosted by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm to announce this year’s winners. Watch the full press conference.

Moungi Bawendi smiles while talking on his cell phone. A framed print of a large clock is in the background.
Photo: Jodi Hilton

He quickly began to receive texts and calls from family, friends, colleagues, and more.

Moungi Bawendi sits on a sofa in his living room, looking at laptop in front of him on a coffee table and speaking into a cell phone. Family members are in the background; a large camera on a tripod is in the foreground.
Photo: Jodi Hilton

Media crews soon arrived at his home in Cambridge, where his wife, Rachel Zimmerman; stepdaughter, Julia Teller; and very good dog Phoebe were celebrating with him.

Moungi Bawendi, casually dressed, stands on the steps outside his home. His dog Phoebe poses next to him, proud of her human.
Photo: Jodi Hilton

The Nobel laureate joined Phoebe for official MIT portrait photos.

X post from Dane DeQuilettes with a video still of Moungi Bawendi popping champagne with more than a dozen others indoors. Text: Congrats Moungi! I know that the #NobelPrize doesn’t factor in teaching and mentorship, but he is someone that does it all. So many of us have benefited from his thoughtful skepticism, creative problem solving, and guidance throughout the years. Cheers!
Post on X via @DanedeQuilettes

Bawendi arrived at the MIT campus shortly before he was scheduled to teach, and was greeted with applause and festive food and drinks from his colleagues and students.

Moungi Bawendi talks and laughs with three other students and faculty member outside a classroom.
Photo: Jodi Hilton

Following a sartorial update, Bawendi prepared to teach his 9 a.m. class, greeting more colleagues and students in the Department of Chemistry.

Moungi Bawendi stands at the front of a classroom facing several rows of MIT students.
Photo: Jodi Hilton

Bawendi ended up scrapping plans for his class, 5.73 (Introduction to Quantum Mechanics), switching from a normal lesson to a brief history of his work on quantum dot science. The class “went very well, except I didn’t talk about what I was supposed to talk about,” he joked afterward, at an MIT press conference.

Moungi Bawendi poses with an MIT student. Another student in the foreground, with her back to the camera, holds out her phone to take the photo.
Photo: Jodi Hilton

After class, the professor of chemistry made time to take photos with students.

A screenshot of Moungi Bawendi speaking in the online press conference. He is seated, with a table and chalkboard behind him. At the top of the screen is the title “MIT Nobel Prize Live Press Conference.”

An MIT press conference, hosted by the Institute Office of Communications and President Sally Kornbluth, was held at 10:30 a.m. ET. Watch the full press conference.

Sally Kornbluth and Moungai Bawendi stand facing each other in front of sign that says "Massachusetts Institute of Technology"

After lunch, Bawendi met in person with President Kornbluth.

Moungi Bawendi is surrounded by colleagues as they toast his achievement.

In the late afternoon, toasts were made at a celebration for Bawendi organized by the Department of Chemistry.

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