Updated: Aug 18
The Nobel Prize is a famous award given annually in six distinct categories "to those who have imparted the greatest benefit to humanity during the preceding year." The prize was originally given in the domains of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace.
The Peace Prize was defined as "to the individual who has done the most or best to develop international fellowship, the elimination or reduction of standing armies, and the formation and support of peace congresses."
Later that year, in 1968, the sixth award in economic sciences was added. Officially, the prize is not a Nobel Prize, but it is known as "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel." Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden's central bank) founded it.
Following Nobel's death, the Nobel Foundation was established to carry out the terms of his will and to manage his money. In his will, he specified that the awards be awarded by four distinct institutions—three Swedish and one Norwegian. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences bestows awards for physics, chemistry, and economics from Stockholm, the Karolinska Institute bestows the prize for physiology or medicine, and the Swedish Academy bestows the medal for literature. The Norwegian Nobel Committee, located in Oslo, bestows the peace award.
The Nobel Foundation is the legal owner and functional administrator of the money, as well as the joint administrative body of the prize-awarding organisations, but it is not involved in prize discussions or decisions, which are solely the responsibility of the prize-awarding institutions.
THE SELECTION PROCESS
The Nobel Prize's renown originates in part from the extensive study that goes into selecting the prizewinners. Although the winners are revealed in October and November, the selection process begins in the early fall of the prior year, when the prize-giving organisations invite more than 6,000 people to submit or nominate, candidates for the prizes. Each award receives 1,000 nominations, with the number of nominees often ranging from 100 to 250.
Nobel laureates, members of the awarding institutions, scientists working in physics, chemistry, economics, physiology or medicine, and administrators and members of various universities and learned academies are among those nominated. Respondents must provide a written proposal outlining the qualifications of their candidacy. The nominee is immediately disqualified if he or she nominates themselves. On or before January 31 of the award year, prize suggestions must be submitted to the Nobel Committees.
The six Nobel Committees, one for each prize category, begin their work on the nominations submitted on February 1. Throughout the process, outside experts are usually recruited to assist the committees in determining the originality and significance of each nominee's contribution.
The Nobel Committees completed their work in September and early October and submitted their recommendations to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the other prize-awarding institutions. The recommendation of a committee is frequently, but not always, followed. At all phases, the debates and votes inside these institutions are kept confidential.
The awardees must make their final choice by November 15. Except for the Peace Prize, which can be granted to an institution, prizes can only be given to people.
Each Nobel Prize consists of a gold medal, a certificate with a citation, and a quantity of money, the amount of which is determined by the Nobel Foundation's income. A Nobel Prize is awarded to one person, divided evenly between two people, or shared by three people. In the latter situation, each of the three people can receive one-third of the reward, or two people can share one-half of the prize. When a prize is not given or reserved, it is often delayed until the following year; if it is not then granted, it is paid back into the treasury.
Prizes are withheld or not awarded when no good candidate in the sense of Nobel's will can be identified, or when the global situation precludes the collecting of necessary information, as occurred during World Wars I and II. The rewards are available to everyone, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, creed, or philosophy. They can be given to the same person more than once.
The awards for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and economics are presented in Stockholm, while the award for peace is presented in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the Nobel's death. Typically, the laureates receive their awards in person, and each gives a speech in conjunction with the award ceremonies.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why does no Nobel Prize exist in mathematics, engineering, biology, or environmental science?
The Nobel Prizes were established in Alfred Nobel's will and are awarded in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. The economics prize was founded much later and is a memorial prize, as indicated by its full name: the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. It was included as an exception to commemorate Sweden's central bank's tercentenary in 1968.
What is the significance of the Nobel Peace Prize being granted in Norway?
Alfred Nobel specified in his will who he intended to be in charge of selecting Nobel Prize laureates. Except for the peace award, which was to be selected by a committee of five people elected by the Norwegian Parliament, the rewards were to be decided by Swedish institutions.
Despite the fact that Sweden and Norway were united throughout Nobel's lifetime, we still don't know why Alfred Nobel was selected for the peace award to be decided in Norway. However, because the prize committee is based in Oslo, the award is also given there.
Why are they referred to as Nobel laureates?
The term "laureate" refers to someone who is represented by a laurel wreath. Victors were given laurel wreaths as a token of honour in ancient Greece. When we combine it with the Nobel Prize, we get "Nobel Prize laureate."
How many persons may be awarded the Nobel Prize?
A Nobel Prize can be shared by up to three individuals, or it can be awarded to an organisation in the case of the peace prize.
The limitation that a prize can only be granted to three persons stems from the rules of the Nobel Foundation, which is responsible for carrying out Nobel's wishes. It expressly stipulates that "in no case may a reward sum be distributed among more than three participants."
Can someone associated with a Nobel Peace Prize-winning organisation (such as the EU or the IPCC) claim to have earned the award?
When an organisation is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the organisation, not the individuals who work there, become the laureate.
As a result, anybody associated with or working for a Nobel Prize-winning organisation cannot refer to oneself as a Nobel Prize laureate in any way.
Who chooses the Nobel laureates?
Alfred Nobel clearly identified the institutions responsible for the awards he desired to be founded in his final will and testament.
Nobel Prize in Physics and Chemistry, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet nominated Karolinska Institutet for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
The Swedish Academy for the Nobel Literature Prize.
A committee of five people will be chosen by the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was established in 1968, on the bank's tercentenary. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was tasked with selecting the laureates in economic sciences.
FAQ – Frequently asked questions. (2018, July 6). NobelPrize.Org. https://www.nobelprize.org/frequently-asked-questions/#:~:text=A%20Nobel%20Prize%20can%20be,the%20intentions%20of%20Nobel’s%20will.