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History of the Nobel Prize. Who was Alfred Nobel?

The Nobel Prize is a set of awards given in various categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions. They are given for outstanding achievement in the fields of Chemistry, Literature, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine.

By I Kid You Not , in Current Stories , at October 7, 2022 Tags: , , ,

In October every year, the Nobel prizes are announced. The prizes are awarded every year on December 10th.

Scroll to the end for quick facts about the Nobel Prize

What’s a Nobel Prize?

The Nobel Prize is a set of awards given in various categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions. They are given for outstanding achievement in the fields of Chemistry, Literature, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine.

The prizes are given by an organization called the Nobel Foundation.

Who was Alfred Nobel?

Alfred Nobel
Image Credit

Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist. He made several important contributions to science and ended up with 355 patents in his lifetime. Nobel, however, is best known for inventing a high explosive called dynamite, which was patented in 1867. He left his fortune to establish the Nobel Prize.

Read the full backstory here – why did he create this prize (it’s an interesting one)

What does the Nobel Prize constitute?

Each prize is worth 10 million kronor (nearly $900,000 – that’s almost 7.5 crore rupees!) and comes along with a diploma and a gold medal.

Each Nobel Prize diploma is a unique work of art, created by leading Swedish and Norwegian artists and calligraphers.

Where does the award ceremony take place?

Since its beginning in 1901, the Nobel Prizes are given to the Nobel Prize laureates on the 10th of December, which is the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel.

As for where they are given – the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, while the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway.

Also, an additional prize was introduced in 1969 named the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences. This was introduced in Memory of Alfred Nobel and is awarded in Stockholm, Sweden.

Who selects the Nobel Prize laureates?

Alfred Nobel specifically designated the institutions responsible for the prizes he wished to be established:…

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for the Nobel Prize in Physics and Chemistry, Karolinska Institute for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Swedish Academy for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and a Committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The above was clearly mentioned in his will (a will is a document where people write their wishes that should be carried out after their death).

Who is responsible for awarding the Nobel Prize in Chemistry?

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is responsible for selecting the Nobel Prize laureates in chemistry.

The Academy was founded in 1739. Membership in the Academy constitutes exclusive recognition of successful research achievements. The Academy appoints members of the Nobel Committee, the working body, for a three-year term.

Years when the Nobel was not given

Since its start, in 1901, there are some years when the Nobel Prizes have not been awarded – during World War I (1914-1918) and II (1939-1945).

The statute of the Nobel Foundation says, “If none of the works under consideration is found to be of the importance indicated in the first paragraph, the prize money shall be reserved until the following year. If even then, the prize cannot be awarded, the amount shall be added to the Foundation’s restricted funds.”.

Famous personalities who missed out

The Nobel Foundation has missed giving the Nobel to some well-deserving people – the most famous one being Mahatma Gandhi (he was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize, but never awarded one). He was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947, and, finally, a few days before he was assassinated, in January 1948.

The omission has been publicly regretted by later members of the Nobel Committee.

Others include..

Great writers who were missed..

Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Henry James, Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, and D. J. Lawrence are just a few great writers who weren’t awarded for literature.

The other omission was Joseph Lister, who was a British surgeon and medical scientist who is known as the pioneer of antiseptic surgery and preventative medicine.

Quick Facts about the Nobel Prize

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person ever to receive a Nobel Prize. She was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize 2014 jointly with Kailash Satyarthi “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”

The oldest person ever to receive a Nobel is John B. Goodenough, who was awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2019, “for the development of lithium-ion batteries”

Between 1901 and 2021 58 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize and the prize in economic sciences

There have been some laureates who have been awarded the Nobel more than once – the most famous one being Marie Curie, who was awarded the Nobel for Physics in 1903 and for Chemistry in 1911. She shared the prize with her husband (and another person) Pierre Curie, for the discovery of polonium and radium

Hope you know enough about the Nobel now

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Headline Image Credit: Alexander Mahmoud 2018  via nobelprize.org

Here’s the list of Nobel Prizes for 2023


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