Introduction: This article provides for the first time an overview of the most often nominated European neurologists for the Nobel Prize, who never received the award. It sheds light on candidates from France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the UK during the first half of the 20th century. The aim is to highlight the candidates in the field of neurology, to discuss key arguments in the nomination letters, and to raise questions about research trends and hotspots in European neurology 1901–1950. Methods: Using the Nobel nomination database which contains >5,000 nominations in the prize category physiology or medicine from 1901 to the early 1950s, we listed European neurologists who were nominated more than once during this time period. We then collected nomination letters and jury reports of the prime candidates in the archive of the Nobel Committee for physiology or medicine in Sweden to explore nomination networks and motives. Results: We pinpointed scholars like Joseph Babinski, Vladimir Bektherev, Sir Henry Head, Eduard Hitzig, and Ugo Cerletti. The nomination motives were diverse, ranging from “lifetime” achievements and textbooks to singular (eponymous) discoveries. Issues of scientific priority disputes were central in most nomination letters. Conclusion: Nobel Prize nominations constitute a lens through which credit and recognition around major contributions in neurology during the 20th century can be examined. They are unique sources that enable the reconstruction of both research trends in the field and the reputation of individual neurologists.

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