Nobel Prize

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The Nobel Prize is the international award given yearly since 1901 for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. In 1968, the Sveriges Riksbank (Bank of Sweden) instituted the Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize.

About the Prizes

The first ceremony to award the Nobel Prizes in literature, physics, chemistry, and medicine was held at the Old Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm in 1901; since 1902, the prizes have been formally awarded by the King of Sweden. King Oscar II did not initially approve of awarding grand national prizes to foreigners, but is said to have changed his mind after realizing the publicity value of the prizes for the country.

The Prizes are awarded at a formal ceremony held annually on December 10, the date that Alfred Nobel passed away. However, the names of the laureates are typically announced in October by the different committees and institutions that serve as selection boards for the prizes.

A large monetary award is included with the Nobel Prizes, currently about 10 million Swedish Kronor (slightly more than one million Euros or about 1.3 million US dollars). This was originally intended to allow laureates to continue working or researching without the pressures of raising money. (In actual fact, many prize winners have retired before winning, and many Literature winners have been silenced by it, even if younger.)

The Nobel Prize may only be awarded to living persons; it may not be awarded posthumously, which has sometimes sparked criticism that someone deserving of a Nobel Prize never received the prize because he or she died before being nominated for it.

It should be noted that the expression "nominated for a Nobel Prize," when used to establish someone's credentials or expertise in a certain field, is an essentially meaningless expression. Anyone can nominate anyone else for a Nobel Prize.

Alfred Nobel, the founder of the prize, made his money with dynamite (literally) which he invented.

Prize categories

Prizes have been awarded annually since 1901 for achievements in:

  • Physics (decided by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences)
  • Chemistry (decided by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences)
  • Physiology or Medicine (decided by the Karolinska Institute)
  • Literature (decided by the Swedish Academy)
  • Peace (decided by a committee appointed by the Norwegian Storting)

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