The Nobel Prize is a set of prestigious 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. While these prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, the Nobel peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway. The sixth Nobel Prize, for Economics was created by Swedish National Bank in 1968 and named after Alfred Nobel as well. The Nobel Prize comes with a diploma, medal, and cash award.
What’s the backstory?
The story is an interesting one.
The prizes are given by an organization called Nobel Foundation. This is named after Alfred Bernhard Nobel, who was a rich Swedish businessman, chemist, engineer, inventor, and also philanthropist. He invented many things (he actually held 355 different patents), but he is best known for inventing a high explosive called dynamite. He also owned an arms manufacturing company called Bofors.
But, why the award?
So, that’s the interesting part – and it can be said that a mistake by a French newspaper had a lot to do with its creation.
What happened was that when Alfred’s brother, Ludvig died, a French newspaper erroneously published Alfred’s obituary (a news article that is published after the recent death of a person to inform the general public about it) instead. This was a premature obituary as it was published when the person was still alive. It read, “The merchant of death is dead”. It went on to say that, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”
Reading this had a deep impact on Alfred and as a consequence he set aside most of his wealth, in his will, to create the Nobel Prizes. He stated that he wished to create a fund and its interest should be given as “prizes to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind”.
He said that he wished that “when awarding the prizes, no consideration be given to nationality, but that the prize be awarded to the worthiest person, whether or not they are Scandinavian.” This is why the prizes are given every year.
How much is the prize money?
The cash prize this year is about US$1,110,000. This is Rs.72,227,297.37 (Rs. Seven crore twenty-two lakh twenty-seven thousand two hundred and ninety-seven and thirty-seven paise) in Indian currency.
Which Nobel Prizes have been announced for 2019?
The announcements this year are being made between the 7th and 14th of October. As of now, we only know the winners of the Nobel Prize in physics, medicine and chemistry. The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to James Peebles for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology and Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly given to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries. Finally, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.
The award in literature will be announced on 10th October 2019, the peace prize winner(s) will be announced on 11th October 2019 and the prize in economics will be announced on 14th October 2019. Keep your eye out for the results!
Nobel Chemistry – 2019
The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino.
The three scientists won for their work on developing rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which are used in everything from smartphones to pacemakers.
At 97-years-old, Professor Goodenough from the US is the oldest-ever Nobel laureate.