- January 8 - Elvis Presley, American singer
- February 11 - Sergio Mendes -- an alternative source gives 1941.
- February 11 - Gerry Goffin.
- February 11 - Bent Lorentzen, composer.
- February 11 - Gene Vincent, American rock guitarist/vocalist -- an alternative source gives 1943.
- September 17 - Ken Kesey, author
- October 12 - Luciano Pavarotti, opera singer
- December 1 - Woody Allen, American film director
- Mao Zedong assumes the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
- Physics - James Chadwick
- Chemistry - Frédéric Joliot, Irène Joliot-Curie
- Medicine - Hans Spemann
- Literature - not awarded
- Peace - Carl Von Ossietzky