Culled from Wikipedia
Nobel prize is the most
prestigious award of the world. It was started by Alfred Nobel of Oslo,
Norway. It is interesting to know something about Alfred Nobel. Nobel was
born in Oslo, Norway in 1833. He was a chemist, engineer and inventor. he
bought the Bofors Iron and Steel Co and turned it into an armaments
manufacturer. His most wealth comes by his 355 inventions, among which
dynamite is most famous. In 1888, he was astonished to read his obituary
titled, "The Merchant of Death is dead" in a French newspaper.
In fact it as his brother who died in 1888. He died in 1896 at the age of
63. Nobel assigned 94% of his wealth to establish the five Nobel prizes.
In 1905, the personal union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved.
Thereafter, Norway's Nobel Committee was responsible for awarding the Nobel
Peace Prize and the Swedish institutions retained responsibility for the
Every year since 1901 the Nobel
Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or
medicine, literature and for peace. The Nobel Prize is an international award
administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1968, Sveriges
Riksbank established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in
Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize. Notably absent here from
this list is Mathematics.
Although the Nobel Prize
was started from Oslo, Norway, it is administered in Stockholm, Sweden.
Still the Peace prize is given in Oslo, Norway while other prizes are
awarded in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Royal Swedish Academy
of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry,
and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences;
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awards the Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine;
The Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature; and
The Norwegian Nobel Committee grants the Nobel Peace Prize
The First Nobel Prizes
(1) Peace Prize - The committee awarded was the first Peace Prize to two
prominent figures in the growing peace movement around the end of the
19th century. These were Frederic Passy, and Henry Dunant the founder of
the International Committee of the Red Cross.
(2) Physics Prize - The Nobel Committee's Physics Prize shortlist cited
Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen's discovery of X-rays and Philipp Lenard's work on
(3) Literature Prize - The Swedish Academy chose the poet Sully Prudhomme
for the first Nobel Prize in Literature, against the decision of Leo Tolstoy.
(4) Medicine Prize - The first Physiology or Medicine Prize went to the
German physiologist and microbiologist Emil von Behring
(5) Chemistry Prize - Van't Hoff was awarded the prize for his
contributions in chemical thermodynamics.
Process of Giving Award
Each prize consists of a medal, personal diploma, and a cash award, which is
decided by the Nobel Foundation every year. As of 2012, each prize was worth
8 million SEK (c US$1.2 million, €0.93 million). The prize is not awarded
posthumously; however, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving
it, the prize may still be presented. Its awarding ceremony is held in Stockholm
in Sweden. The whole ceremony takes a week and is thus named Nobel Week. It starts
with the arrival of Nobel Laureates and end with the Banquet.
Till now the Nobel Prize medals were minted by Myntverket (the Swedish
Mint) in between 1902-2010. Myntverket, Sweden's oldest company, ceased
operations in 2011 after 1017 years. Now from 2012 the Swedish medals will
be minted by Svenska Medalj AB. All medals made before 1980 were
struck in 23 carat gold. Since then they have been struck in 18 carat
green gold plated with 24 carat gold. The weight of each medal varies with
the value of gold, but averages about 175 grams (0.39 lb) for each medal.
The diameter is 66 millimeters (2.6 in) and the thickness varies between
5.2 millimeters (0.20 in) and 2.4 millimeters (0.094 in).
A Diploma is also awarded to each of them, directly from the hands of the
King of Sweden or the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Each
diploma is uniquely designed by the prize-awarding institutions for the
laureates that receive them. The diploma contains a picture and text which
states the name of the laureate and normally a citation of why they received
the prize. None of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates has ever had a citation
on their diplomas.
All laureates are given a sum of money when they receive their prizes, in
the form of a document confirming the amount awarded. The amount of prize
money depends upon how much money the Nobel Foundation can award each
year. The purse has increased since the 1980s, when the prize money was
880 000 SEK (c. 2.6 million SEK, US$350 000 or €295,000 today) per prize.
In 2009, the monetary award was 10 million SEK (US$1.4 million, €950,000).
In June 2012, it was lowered to 8 million SEK. Though the average number
of laureates per prize has increased substantially during the 20th century,
a prize may not be shared among more than three people. If there are two
laureates in a particular category, the award grant is divided equally
between the recipients. If there are three, the awarding committee has
the option of dividing the grant equally, or awarding one-half to one
recipient and one-quarter to each of the others. It is not uncommon for
recipients to donate prize money to benefit scientific, cultural, or
According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, each laureate is
required to give a public lecture on the subject related to the topic of
their prize. The Nobel lecture took decades to reach its current format.
These lectures normally occur during Nobel Week (the week leading up to
the award ceremony and banquet, which begins with the laureates arriving
in Stockholm and normally ends with the Nobel banquet), but this is not
mandatory. The laureate is only obliged to give the lecture within six
months of receiving the prize. Some have happened even later. For example,
US president Theodore Roosevelt won the Peace Prize in 1906 but gave his
lecture in 1910, after his term in office. The lectures are organized by
the same association which selected the laureates.
After the awarding ceremony, a banquet is held at the Stockholm City
Hall, which is attended by the Swedish Royal Family and around 1,300
guests. The banquet features a three-course dinner, entertainment, and
dancing, and is covered extensively by Swedish media. Before 1930, the
banquet in Sweden was held in the ballroom of Stockholm's Grand Hotel.
The Nobel Peace Prize
banquet is held in Oslo at the Grand Hotel after the award ceremony. Apart
from the laureate, guests include the President of the Storting, the Prime
Minister, and, since 2006, the King and Queen of Norway too. In total,
about 250 guests attend for a five-course meal. For the first time in its
history, the banquet was cancelled in Oslo in 1979 because the laureate,
Mother Teresa, refused to attend it, saying the money would be better
spent on the poor. Mother Teresa used the US$7,000 that was to be spent on
the banquet to hold a dinner for 2,000 homeless people on Christmas Day.
Some Interesting Events of the Nobel Prize
--When Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho (in 1973) were awarded the Peace Award -
two members of Norwegian Committee resigned on this point, because Many
critics were of the opinion that Kissinger was not a peace-maker but the
opposite; responsible for widening the war
--Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin received the Peace Prize
in 1994 for their efforts in making peace between Israel and Palestine.
One of the five Norwegian Nobel Committee members denounced Arafat as a
terrorist and resigned.
--Another controversy was when Barack Obama was awarded the Peace Prize in
2009. The Committee had closed just 11 days after he took oath in the
office. But his evaluation rose during the next 8 months. It was really a
left-wing bias against Jimmy Carter and Al Gore.
--The Norwegian Nobel Committee confirmed that Mahatma Gandhi was
nominated for the Peace Prize in 1937–39, 1947, a few days before he
was assassinated in January 1948. Later members of the Norwegian
Nobel Committee expressed regret that he was not given the prize
--The award of the 2004 Literature Prize to Elfriede Jelinek drew a
protest from a member of the Swedish Academy, Knut Ahnlund. Ahnlund
resigned. Many US literary critics and professors had never previously
heard of her. This made many feel that the prizes were too Eurocentric.
Distinguished Nobel Laureates
Four People Received Two Nobel Prizes
--Marie Skodowska-Curie received the Physics Prize in 1903 for the
discovery of radioactivity and the Chemistry Prize in 1911 for the
isolation of pure radium, making her the only person to win a Nobel Prize
in two different sciences.
--Linus Pauling won the 1954 Chemistry Prize for his research into the
chemical bond and its application to the structure of complex substances.
Pauling also won the Peace Prize in 1962 for his anti-nuclear activism,
making him the only laureate of two unshared prizes.
--John Bardeen received the Physics Prize twice: in 1956 for the invention
of the transistor and in 1972 for the theory of superconductivity.
--Frederick Sanger received the prize twice in Chemistry: in 1958 for
determining the structure of the insulin molecule and in 1980 for
inventing a method of determining base sequences in DNA.
have received the Peace Prize multiple times.
--The International Committee of the Red Cross received it three times: in
1917 and 1944 for its work during the world wars; and in 1963 during the
year of its centenary.
--The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has won the Peace Prize
twice for assisting refugees: in 1954 and 1981.
Family For Nobel Prize
The Curie family has received the most prizes, with five. Marie Skodowska-Curie
received the prizes in Physics (in 1903) and Chemistry (in 1911).
Her husband, Pierre Curie, shared the 1903 Physics prize with her.
Their daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie, received the Chemistry Prize in 1935
together with her husband Frederic Joliot-Curie.
The husband of Marie Curie's second daughter, Henry Labouisse, was the
director of UNICEF when it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.
Refused Nobel Prizes
Two laureates have voluntarily declined the Nobel Prize.
--In 1964 Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Literature Prize but he refused,
stating, "A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into
an institution, even if it takes place in the most honorable form."
--The other one was Le Duc Tho, chosen for the 1973 Peace Prize for his
role in the Paris Peace Accords. He declined, stating that there was no
actual peace in Vietnam.
--Mother Teresa did not refuse the Nobel Prize, but she refused to attend
the banque, saying that the banquet money would be better spent on the
poor. She used that US$7,000 Banquet money to hold a dinner for 2,000
homeless people on Christmas Day.
--During the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler hindered Richard Kuhn, Adolf
Butenandt, and Gerhard Domagk from accepting their prizes. All of
them were awarded their diplomas and gold medals after World War II.
--In 1958, Boris Pasternak declined his prize for literature due to fear
of what the Soviet Union government might do if he traveled to Stockholm
to accept his prize. In return, the Swedish Academy refused his refusal,
saying "this refusal, of course, in no way alters the validity of the
award." The Academy announced with regret that the presentation of the
Literature Prize could not take place that year, holding it until 1989 when
Pasternak's son accepted the prize on his behalf.
--Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, but her children
accepted the prize because she had been placed under house arrest in Burma;
Suu Kyi delivered her speech two decades later, in 2012.
A memorial symbol "Planet of Alfred Nobel" was opened in Dnipropetrovsk
University of Economics and Law on September 13, 2008. It is a granite monument
on which the hand supports the globe. Around the globe is the trace of flying
figure of a woman - the goddess of science, reason and intellect. On the globe
there are 802 Nobel laureates' reliefs made of a composite alloy obtained when
disposing military strategic missiles.
Nobel Prize has its own website - www.nobelprize.org