- February 11 - Polish Prime Minister Jozef Pinkowski replaced by Wojciech Jaruzelski.
- April 12 - Columbia 1 mission, first launch of a Space Shuttle
- Ronald Reagan succeeds Jimmy Carter as President of the United States of America
- December 13 - Wojciech Jaruzelski declares the state of martial law in Poland to prevent dismantling of the communist system by Solidarity
- Physics - Nicolaas Bloembergen, Arthur Leonard Schawlow, Kai M. Siegbahn
- Chemistry - Kenichi Fukui, Roald Hoffmann
- Medicine - Roger W Sperry, David H Hubel, Torsten N Wiesel
- Literature - Elias Canetti
- Peace - [[The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees.
- Economics - James Tobin