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The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel's will of 1895, are awarded to "those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind."
Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedes, Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and Philanthropy, philanthropist. He is best known for having bequeathed his fortune to establish the Nobel ...
was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and industrialist most famously known for the invention of
dynamite Dynamite is an explosive made of nitroglycerin, sorbents (such as powdered shells or clay), and Stabilizer (chemistry), stabilizers. It was invented by the Swedish people, Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel in Geesthacht, Northern Germa ...
. He died in 1896. In his will, he bequeathed all of his "remaining realisable assets" to be used to establish five prizes which became known as "Nobel Prizes." Nobel Prizes were first awarded in 1901. Nobel Prizes are awarded in the fields of
Physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical science is that depar ...
,
Chemistry Chemistry is the scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the elements that make up matter to the compounds made of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties ...
,
Physiology or Medicine The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded yearly by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute for outstanding discoveries in physiology or medicine. The Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelpris ...
,
Literature Literature is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to ...
, and
Peace Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups. ...
(Nobel characterized the Peace Prize as "to the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses"). In 1968,
Sveriges Riksbank Sveriges Riksbank, or simply the ''Riksbank'', is the central bank of Sweden. It is the world's oldest central bank and the List of oldest banks in continuous operation, fourth oldest bank in operation. Etymology The first part of the word ''r ...
(Sweden's central bank) funded the establishment of the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, to also be administered by the
Nobel Foundation The Nobel Foundation ( sv, Nobelstiftelsen) is a private institution founded on 29 June 1900 to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. The foundation is based on the last will of Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. It ...
. Nobel Prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards available in their respective fields. Shalev, p. 8 The prize ceremonies take place annually. Each recipient (known as a "
laureate In English, the word laureate has come to signify eminence or association with literary award A literary award or literary prize is an award presented in recognition of a particularly lauded Literature, literary piece or body of work. It is n ...
") receives a gold medal, a
diploma A diploma is a document awarded by an educational institution (such as a college or university) testifying the recipient has graduated by successfully completing their courses of studies. Historically, it has also referred to a charter or offici ...
, and a monetary award. In 2021, the Nobel Prize monetary award is 10,000,000 SEK. A prize may not be shared among more than three individuals, although the Nobel Peace Prize can be awarded to organizations of more than three people. Although Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it, the prize is presented. The Nobel Prizes, beginning in 1901, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, beginning in 1969, have been awarded 609 times to 975 people and 25 organizations. Five individuals and two organisations have received more than one Nobel Prize.


History

Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedes, Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and Philanthropy, philanthropist. He is best known for having bequeathed his fortune to establish the Nobel ...
() was born on 21 October 1833 in
Stockholm Stockholm () is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in Sweden by population, largest city of Sweden as well as the List of urban areas in the Nordic countries, largest urban area in Scandinavia. Approximately 980,000 people liv ...
, Sweden, into a family of engineers. Levinovitz, p. 5 He was a
chemist A chemist (from Greek ''chēm(ía)'' alchemy; replacing ''chymist'' from Medieval Latin ''alchemist'') is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties. Chemists carefully describe th ...
,
engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who Invention, invent, design, analyze, build and test machines, complex systems, structures, gadgets and materials to fulfill functional objectives and requirements while considerin ...
, and
inventor An invention is a unique or novelty (patent), novel machine, device, method, composition, idea or process. An invention may be an improvement upon a machine, product, or process for increasing efficiency or lowering cost. It may also be an ent ...
. In 1894, Nobel purchased the
Bofors AB Bofors ( , , ) is a former Swedish arms manufacturer which today is part of the British arms concern BAE Systems BAE Systems plc (BAE) is a British Multinational corporation, multinational arms industry, arms, Information securit ...
iron and steel mill, which he made into a major
armaments A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used to deter, threaten, inflict physical damage, harm, or kill. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement, s ...
manufacturer Manufacturing is the creation or Production (economics), production of goods with the help of equipment, Work (human activity), labor, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. It is the essence of secondary secto ...
. Nobel also invented
ballistite Ballistite is a smokeless powder, smokeless propellant made from two high explosives, nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. It was developed and patented by Alfred Nobel in the late 19th century. Military adoption Alfred Nobel patented https://www.n ...
. This invention was a precursor to many smokeless military explosives, especially the British smokeless powder
cordite Cordite is a family of smokeless powder, smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom since 1889 to replace gunpowder, black powder as a military propellant. Like modern gunpowder, cordite is classified as a low explosi ...
. As a consequence of his patent claims, Nobel was eventually involved in a
patent infringement Patent infringement is the commission of a prohibited act with respect to a patented invention without permission from the patent holder. Permission may typically be granted in the form of a license. The definition of patent infringement may va ...
lawsuit - A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in reference to a civil act ...
over cordite. Nobel amassed a fortune during his lifetime, with most of his wealth coming from his 355 inventions, of which
dynamite Dynamite is an explosive made of nitroglycerin, sorbents (such as powdered shells or clay), and Stabilizer (chemistry), stabilizers. It was invented by the Swedish people, Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel in Geesthacht, Northern Germa ...
is the most famous. Levinovitz, p. 11 In 1888, Nobel was astonished to read his own
obituary An obituary (wikt:obit#Etymology 2, obit for short) is an article about a recently deceased person. Newspapers often publish obituaries as Article (publishing), news articles. Although obituaries tend to focus on positive aspects of the subj ...
, titled "The merchant of death is dead", in a French newspaper. It was Alfred's brother Ludvig who had died; the obituary was eight years premature. The article disconcerted Nobel and made him apprehensive about how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's (testator) wishes as to how their property (estate (law), estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which ...
. On 10 December 1896, Alfred Nobel died in his villa in San Remo, Italy, from a cerebral haemorrhage. He was 63 years old. Sohlman, p. 13 Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime. He composed the last over a year before he died, signing it at the Swedish–Norwegian Club in Paris on 27 November 1895. Sohlman, p. 7 To widespread astonishment, Nobel's last will specified that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the "greatest benefit on mankind" in
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical science is that depar ...
,
chemistry Chemistry is the scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the elements that make up matter to the compounds made of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties ...
,
physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific study of functions and mechanisms in a living system. As a sub-discipline of biology Biology is the scientific study of life. It is a natural science with a broad scope but has several unifying the ...
or
medicine Medicine is the science and Praxis (process), practice of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, prevention, therapy, treatment, Palliative care, palliation of their injury or disease, and Health promotion ...
,
literature Literature is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to ...
, and
peace Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups. ...
. Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million SEK (c. US$186 million, €150 million in 2008), to establish the five Nobel Prizes. Abrams, p. 7 Owing to skepticism surrounding the will, it was not approved by the
Storting The Storting ( no, Stortinget ) (lit. the Great Thing (assembly), Thing) is the supreme legislature of Norway, established in 1814 by the Constitution of Norway. It is located in Oslo. The Unicameralism, unicameral parliament has 169 members and ...
in
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe, the mainland territory of which comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The remote Arctic island of ...
until 26 April 1897. Levinovitz, pp. 13–25 The
executors An executor is someone who is responsible for executing, or following through on, an assigned task or duty. The feminine form, executrix, may sometimes be used. Overview An executor is a legal term referring to a person named by the maker of a ...
of the will,
Ragnar Sohlman Ragnar Sohlman (February 26, 1870 – July 9, 1948) was a Sweden, Swedish chemical engineer, Management, manager, civil servant, and creator of the Nobel Foundation. Biography Ragnar Sohlman was born in Stockholm to August Sohlman, a well-kno ...
and Rudolf Lilljequist, formed the
Nobel Foundation The Nobel Foundation ( sv, Nobelstiftelsen) is a private institution founded on 29 June 1900 to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. The foundation is based on the last will of Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. It ...
to take care of the fortune and to organise the awarding of prizes. Abrams, pp. 7–8 Nobel's instructions named a
Norwegian Nobel Committee The Norwegian Nobel Committee ( no, Den norske Nobelkomité) selects the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize each year on behalf of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel's Estate (law), estate, based on instructions of Nobel's Will (law), will. Five ...
to award the Peace Prize, the members of whom were appointed shortly after the will was approved in April 1897. Soon thereafter, the other prize-awarding organizations were designated. These were
Karolinska Institute The Karolinska Institute (KI; sv, Karolinska Institutet; sometimes known as the (Royal) Caroline Institute in English) is a research-led Medical school, medical university in Solna Municipality, Solna within the Stockholm urban area of Sweden. ...
on 7 June, the Swedish Academy on 9 June, and the
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences ( sv, Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien) is one of the royal academies of Sweden. Founded on 2 June 1739, it is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization that takes special responsibility for prom ...
on 11 June. Crawford, p. 1 The Nobel Foundation reached an agreement on guidelines for how the prizes should be awarded; and, in 1900, the Nobel Foundation's newly created
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare Public p ...
s were promulgated by King Oscar II. In 1905, the personal union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved.


Nobel Foundation


Formation of Foundation

According to his will and testament read in Stockholm on 30 December 1896, a foundation established by Alfred Nobel would reward those who serve humanity. The Nobel Prize was funded by Alfred Nobel's personal fortune. According to the official sources, Alfred Nobel bequeathed most of his fortune to the Nobel Foundation that now forms the economic base of the Nobel Prize. The
Nobel Foundation The Nobel Foundation ( sv, Nobelstiftelsen) is a private institution founded on 29 June 1900 to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. The foundation is based on the last will of Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. It ...
was founded as a private organization on 29 June 1900. Its function is to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. Levinovitz, p. 14 In accordance with Nobel's
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's (testator) wishes as to how their property (estate (law), estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which ...
, the primary task of the foundation is to manage the fortune Nobel left.
Robert The name Robert is an ancient Germanic given name, from Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic languages, Germanic ...
and
Ludvig Nobel Ludvig Immanuel Nobel ( ; russian: Лю́двиг Эммануи́лович Нобе́ль, Ljúdvig Emmanuílovich Nobél’; sv, Ludvig Emmanuel Nobel ; 27 July 1831 – 12 April 1888) was a Swedish-Russian engineer, a noted businessman and a ...
were involved in the oil business in
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, , also sometimes officially called the Azerbaijan Republic is a transcontinental country, transcontinental country located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and Wester ...
, and according to Swedish
historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the st ...
E. Bargengren, who accessed the
Nobel family The Nobel family ( , ) is a prominent Swedes, Swedish and Russians, Russian family closely related to the history both of Sweden and of Russia in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its legacy includes its outstanding contributions to philanthropy and ...
archive An archive is an accumulation of Historical document, historical records or Historical source, materials – in any medium – or the physical facility in which they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumula ...
, it was this "decision to allow withdrawal of Alfred's money from
Baku Baku (, ; az, Bakı ) is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland body of water, often described as the List of lakes by area, world's largest ...
that became the decisive factor that enabled the Nobel Prizes to be established". Another important task of the Nobel Foundation is to market the prizes internationally and to oversee informal administration related to the prizes. The foundation is not involved in the process of selecting the
Nobel laureates The Nobel Prizes ( sv, Nobelpriset, no, Nobelprisen) are awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Swedish Academy, the Karolinska Institutet, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee to individuals and organizations who make out ...
. Levinovitz, p. 15 Feldman, p. 16 In many ways, the Nobel Foundation is similar to an
investment company An investment company is a financial institution principally engaged in holding, managing and investing security (finance), securities. These companies in the United States are regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and must be ...
, in that it invests Nobel's money to create a solid funding base for the prizes and the administrative activities. The Nobel Foundation is exempt from all taxes in Sweden (since 1946) and from investment taxes in the United States (since 1953). Levinovitz, pp. 17–18 Since the 1980s, the foundation's investments have become more profitable and as of 31 December 2007, the assets controlled by the Nobel Foundation amounted to 3.628 billion Swedish ''kronor'' (c. US$560 million). Levinovitz, pp. 15–17 According to the statutes, the foundation consists of a board of five Swedish or Norwegian citizens, with its seat in Stockholm. The
Chairman of the Board The chairperson, also chairman, chairwoman or chair, is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a Board of directors, board, committee, or deliberative assembly. The person holding the office, who is typically elected or appointed by ...
is appointed by the Swedish
King in Council The King-in-Council or the Queen-in-Council, depending on the gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to femininity and masculinity and differentiating between them. Depending on the context, this may include sex-based so ...
, with the other four members appointed by the
trustee Trustee (or the holding of a trusteeship) is a legal term which, in its broadest sense, is a synonym for anyone in a position of trust and so can refer to any individual who holds property, authority, or a position of trust or responsibility to t ...
s of the prize-awarding
institutions Institutions are humanly devised structures of rules and norms that shape and constrain individual behavior. All definitions of institutions generally entail that there is a level of persistence and continuity. Laws, rules, social conventions a ...
. An
Executive Director Executive director is commonly the title of the chief executive officer of a non-profit organization, government agency or international organization. The title is widely used in North American and European not-for-profit organizations, though ...
is chosen from among the board members, a deputy director is appointed by the King in Council, and two
deputies A legislator (also known as a deputy or lawmaker) is a person who writes and passes law Law is a set of rules that are created and are law enforcement, enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ...
are appointed by the
trustees Trustee (or the holding of a trusteeship) is a legal term which, in its broadest sense, is a synonym for anyone in a position of trust and so can refer to any individual who holds property, authority, or a position of trust or responsibility to ...
. However, since 1995, all the members of the board have been chosen by the trustees, and the executive director and the deputy director appointed by the board itself. As well as the board, the Nobel Foundation is made up of the prize-awarding institutions (the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute, the Swedish Academy, and the
Norwegian Nobel Committee The Norwegian Nobel Committee ( no, Den norske Nobelkomité) selects the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize each year on behalf of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel's Estate (law), estate, based on instructions of Nobel's Will (law), will. Five ...
), the trustees of these institutions, and
audit An audit is an "independent examination of financial information of any entity, whether profit oriented or not, irrespective of its size or legal form when such an examination is conducted with a view to express an opinion thereon.” Auditing ...
ors.


Foundation capital and cost

The capital of the Nobel Foundation today is invested 50% in
shares In finance, financial markets, a share is a unit of Equity (finance), equity ownership in the capital stock of a corporation, and can refer to units of mutual funds, limited partnerships, and real estate investment trusts. Share capital refers t ...
, 20% bonds and 30% other investments (e.g. hedge funds or
real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real property, (more general ...
). The distribution can vary by 10 percent. At the beginning of 2008, 64% of the funds were invested mainly in American and European stocks, 20% in bonds, plus 12% in real estate and hedge funds. In 2011, the total annual cost was approximately 120 million kronor, with 50 million kronor as the prize money. Further costs to pay institutions and persons engaged in giving the prizes were 27.4 million kronor. The events during the Nobel week in Stockholm and Oslo cost 20.2 million kronor. The administration, Nobel
symposium In ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical ...
, and similar items had costs of 22.4 million kronor. The cost of the
Economic Sciences Economics () is the social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and intera ...
prize of 16.5 Million kronor is paid by the
Sveriges Riksbank Sveriges Riksbank, or simply the ''Riksbank'', is the central bank of Sweden. It is the world's oldest central bank and the List of oldest banks in continuous operation, fourth oldest bank in operation. Etymology The first part of the word ''r ...
.


Inaugural Nobel prizes

Once the Nobel Foundation and its guidelines were in place, the Nobel Committees began collecting nominations for the inaugural prizes. Subsequently, they sent a list of preliminary candidates to the prize-awarding institutions. The Nobel Committee's Physics Prize shortlist cited Wilhelm Röntgen's discovery of
X-ray An X-ray, or, much less commonly, X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. Most X-rays have a wavelength ranging from 10 Picometre, picometers to 10 Nanometre, nanometers, corresponding to frequency, ...
s and
Philipp Lenard Philipp Eduard Anton von Lenard (; hu, Lénárd Fülöp Eduárd Antal; 7 June 1862 – 20 May 1947) was a Hungarian-born German physicist and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1905 for his work on cathode rays and the discovery of m ...
's work on
cathode ray Cathode rays or electron beam (e-beam) are streams of electron The electron ( or ) is a subatomic particle with a negative one elementary charge, elementary electric charge. Electrons belong to the first generation (particle physics), gene ...
s. The Academy of Sciences selected Röntgen for the prize. Feldman, p. 134 Leroy, pp. 117–118 In the last decades of the 19th century, many chemists had made significant contributions. Thus, with the Chemistry Prize, the academy "was chiefly faced with merely deciding the order in which these scientists should be awarded the prize". Levinovitz, p. 77 The academy received 20 nominations, eleven of them for Jacobus van 't Hoff. Crawford, p. 118 Van 't Hoff was awarded the prize for his contributions in
chemical thermodynamics Chemical thermodynamics is the study of the interrelation of heat and Work (thermodynamics), work with chemical reactions or with physical changes of thermodynamic state, state within the confines of the laws of thermodynamics. Chemical thermodynam ...
. Levinovitz, p. 81 Feldman, p. 205 The Swedish Academy chose the poet
Sully Prudhomme René François Armand "Sully" Prudhomme (; 16 March 1839 – 6 September 1907) was a French poet and essayist. He was the first winner of the 1901 Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901. Born in Paris, Prudhomme originall ...
for the first Nobel Prize in Literature. A group including 42 Swedish writers, artists, and literary critics protested against this decision, having expected
Leo Tolstoy Count Lev Nikolayevich TolstoyTolstoy pronounced his first name as , which corresponds to the romanization ''Lyov''. () (; russian: link=no, Лев Николаевич Толстой,In Tolstoy's day, his name was written as in Reforms of ...
to be awarded. Levinovitz, p. 144 Some, including Burton Feldman, have criticised this prize because they consider Prudhomme a mediocre poet. Feldman's explanation is that most of the academy members preferred
Victorian literature Victorian literature refers to English literature during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). The 19th century is considered by some to be the Golden Age of English Literature, especially for British novels. It was in the Victorian era tha ...
and thus selected a Victorian poet. Feldman, p. 69 The first Physiology or Medicine Prize went to the German physiologist and microbiologist Emil von Behring. During the 1890s, von Behring developed an
antitoxin An antitoxin is an antibody with the ability to neutralize a specific toxin. Antitoxins are produced by certain animals, plants, and bacterium, bacteria in response to toxin exposure. Although they are most effective in neutralizing toxins, the ...
to treat
diphtheria Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacteria, bacterium ''Corynebacterium diphtheriae''. Most infections are asymptomatic or have a mild Course (medicine), clinical course, but in some outbreaks more than 10% of those diagnosed with the di ...
, which until then was causing thousands of deaths each year. Feldman, pp. 242–244 Leroy, p. 233 The first
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
went to the Swiss
Jean Henri Dunant Henry Dunant (born Jean-Henri Dunant; 8 May 182830 October 1910), also known as Henri Dunant, was a Swiss humanitarian, businessman, and social activist. He was the visionary, promoter, and co-founder of the Red Cross. In 1901, he received the ...
for his role in founding the International Red Cross Movement and initiating the Geneva Convention, and jointly given to French pacifist Frédéric Passy, founder of the Peace League and active with Dunant in the Alliance for Order and Civilization.


Second World War

In 1938 and 1939,
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populo ...
's
Third Reich Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
forbade three laureates from Germany (
Richard Kuhn Richard Johann Kuhn (; 3 December 1900 – 1 August 1967) was an Austrian-German biochemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938 "for his work on carotenoids and vitamins". Biography Early life Kuhn was born in Vienna, Austria ...
, Adolf Friedrich Johann Butenandt, and
Gerhard Domagk Gerhard Johannes Paul Domagk (; 30 October 1895 – 24 April 1964) was a German pathologist and bacteriologist. He is credited with the discovery of Sulfonamide (medicine), sulfonamidochrysoidine (KL730) as an antibiotic for which he received the ...
) from accepting their prizes. Levinovitz, p. 23 They were all later able to receive the diploma and medal. Wilhelm, p. 85 Even though Sweden was officially neutral during the Second World War, the prizes were awarded irregularly. In 1939, the Peace Prize was not awarded. No prize was awarded in any category from 1940 to 1942, due to the occupation of Norway by Germany. In the subsequent year, all prizes were awarded except those for literature and peace. During the occupation of Norway, three members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee fled into exile. The remaining members escaped persecution from the Germans when the Nobel Foundation stated that the committee building in
Oslo Oslo ( , , or ; sma, Oslove) is the Capital city, capital and List of towns and cities in Norway, most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a Counties of Norway, county and a Municipalities of Norway, municipality. The municipality o ...
was Swedish property. Thus it was a safe haven from the German military, which was not at war with Sweden. Abrams, p. 23 These members kept the work of the committee going, but did not award any prizes. In 1944, the Nobel Foundation, together with the three members in exile, made sure that nominations were submitted for the Peace Prize and that the prize could be awarded once again.


Prize in Economic Sciences

In 1968, Sweden's central bank
Sveriges Riksbank Sveriges Riksbank, or simply the ''Riksbank'', is the central bank of Sweden. It is the world's oldest central bank and the List of oldest banks in continuous operation, fourth oldest bank in operation. Etymology The first part of the word ''r ...
celebrated its 300th anniversary by donating a large sum of money to the Nobel Foundation to be used to set up a prize in honour of Alfred Nobel. The following year, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was awarded for the first time. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences became responsible for selecting laureates. The first laureates for the Economics Prize were
Jan Tinbergen Jan Tinbergen (; ; 12 April 19039 June 1994) was a Dutch economist who was awarded the first Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1969, which he shared with Ragnar Frisch for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of ...
and
Ragnar Frisch Ragnar Anton Kittil Frisch (3 March 1895 – 31 January 1973) was an influential Norwegian economist An economist is a professional and practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also st ...
"for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes". Feldman, p. 343 Levinovitz, p. 207 The board of the Nobel Foundation decided that after this addition, it would allow no further new prizes. Levinovitz, p. 20


Award process

The award process is similar for all of the Nobel Prizes, the main difference being who can make nominations for each of them. Feldman, pp. 16–17


Nominations

Nomination forms are sent by the Nobel Committee to about 3,000 individuals, usually in September the year before the prizes are awarded. These individuals are generally prominent academics working in a relevant area. Regarding the Peace Prize, inquiries are also sent to governments, former Peace Prize laureates, and current or former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The deadline for the return of the nomination forms is 31 January of the year of the award. Levinovitz, p. 26 The Nobel Committee nominates about 300 potential laureates from these forms and additional names. Abrams, p. 15 The nominees are not publicly named, nor are they told that they are being considered for the prize. All nomination records for a prize are sealed for 50 years from the awarding of the prize.


Selection

The Nobel Committee then prepares a report reflecting the advice of experts in the relevant fields. This, along with the list of preliminary candidates, is submitted to the prize-awarding institutions. Feldman, p. 52 There are four awarding institutions for the six prizes awarded: *
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences ( sv, Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien) is one of the royal academies of Sweden. Founded on 2 June 1739, it is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization that takes special responsibility for prom ...
– Chemistry; Physics; Economics * Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute – Physiology / Medicine *
Swedish Academy The Swedish Academy ( sv, Svenska Akademien), founded in 1786 by King Gustav III of Sweden, Gustav III, is one of the Swedish Royal Academies, Royal Academies of Sweden. Its 18 members, who are elected for life, comprise the highest Swedish lang ...
– Literature *
Norwegian Nobel Committee The Norwegian Nobel Committee ( no, Den norske Nobelkomité) selects the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize each year on behalf of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel's Estate (law), estate, based on instructions of Nobel's Will (law), will. Five ...
– Peace The institutions meet to choose the laureate or laureates in each field by a majority vote. Their decision, which cannot be appealed, is announced immediately after the vote. Levinovitz, pp. 25–28 A maximum of three laureates and two different works may be selected per award. Except for the Peace Prize, which can be awarded to institutions, the awards can only be given to individuals. Abrams, p. 8


Posthumous nominations

Although posthumous nominations are not presently permitted, individuals who died in the months between their nomination and the decision of the prize committee were originally eligible to receive the prize. This has occurred twice: the 1931 Literature Prize awarded to Erik Axel Karlfeldt, and the 1961 Peace Prize awarded to
UN Secretary General The secretary-general of the United Nations (UNSG or SG) is the chief administrative officer of the United Nations and head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the United Nations System#Six principal organs, six principal organs of the Un ...
Dag Hammarskjöld. Since 1974, laureates must be thought alive at the time of the October announcement. There has been one laureate, William Vickrey, who in 1996 died after the prize (in
Economics Economics () is the social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and intera ...
) was announced but before it could be presented. Abrams, p. 9 On 3 October 2011, the laureates for the
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded yearly by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute, Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska Institute for outstanding discoveries in physiology or medicine. The Nobel Pr ...
were announced; however, the committee was not aware that one of the laureates, Ralph M. Steinman, had died three days earlier. The committee was debating about Steinman's prize, since the rule is that the prize is not awarded posthumously. The committee later decided that as the decision to award Steinman the prize "was made in good faith", it would remain unchanged.


Recognition time lag

Nobel's will provided for prizes to be awarded in recognition of discoveries made "during the preceding year". Early on, the awards usually recognised recent discoveries. However, some of those early discoveries were later discredited. For example, Johannes Fibiger was awarded the 1926 Prize in
Physiology or Medicine The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded yearly by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute for outstanding discoveries in physiology or medicine. The Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelpris ...
for his purported discovery of a parasite that caused cancer. Levinovitz, p. 125 To avoid repeating this embarrassment, the awards increasingly recognised scientific discoveries that had withstood the test of time. Abrams, p. 25 According to Ralf Pettersson, former chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee for Physiology or Medicine, "the criterion 'the previous year' is interpreted by the Nobel Assembly as the year when the full impact of the discovery has become evident." The interval between the award and the accomplishment it recognises varies from discipline to discipline. The Literature Prize is typically awarded to recognise a cumulative lifetime body of work rather than a single achievement. The Peace Prize can also be awarded for a lifetime body of work. For example, 2008 laureate
Martti Ahtisaari Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari (; born 23 June 1937) is a Finnish politician, the tenth president of Finland (1994–2000), a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and a United Nations diplomat and mediation, mediator noted for his international peaceworker, ...
was awarded for his work to resolve international conflicts. However, they can also be awarded for specific recent events. For instance,
Kofi Annan Kofi Atta Annan (; 8 April 193818 August 2018) was a Ghanaian people, Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. H ...
was awarded the 2001 Peace Prize just four years after becoming the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Abrams, p. 330 Similarly
Yasser Arafat Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini (4 / 24 August 1929 – 11 November 2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat ( , ; ar, محمد ياسر عبد الرحمن عبد الرؤوف عرفات القدوة الحسيني, Mu ...
,
Yitzhak Rabin Yitzhak Rabin (; he, יִצְחָק רַבִּין, ; 1 March 1922 – 4 November 1995) was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth List of Prime Ministers of Israel, Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office ...
, and
Shimon Peres Shimon Peres (; he, שמעון פרס ; born Szymon Perski; 2 August 1923 – 28 September 2016) was an Israeli politician who served as the eighth prime minister of Israel from 1984 to 1986 and from 1995 to 1996 and as the List of Presidents ...
received the 1994 award, about a year after they successfully concluded the
Oslo Accords The Oslo Accords are a pair of agreements between Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, ; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, ), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat ...
. Abrams, p. 27 The most recent controvers

was caused by awarding the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, Obama was the first Af ...
in his first year as US president. Awards for physics, chemistry, and medicine are typically awarded once the achievement has been widely accepted. Sometimes, this takes decades – for example,
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (; ) (19 October 1910 – 21 August 1995) was an Indian Americans, Indian-American Theoretical physics, theoretical physicist who spent his professional life in the United States. He shared the 1983 Nobel Prize for ...
shared the 1983 Physics Prize for his 1930s work on stellar structure and evolution. Not all scientists live long enough for their work to be recognised. Some discoveries can never be considered for a prize if their impact is realised after the discoverers have died.


Award ceremonies

Except for the Peace Prize, the Nobel Prizes are presented in Stockholm, Sweden, at the annual Prize Award Ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death. The recipients' lectures are normally held in the days prior to the award ceremony. The Peace Prize and its recipients' lectures are presented at the annual Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, usually on 10 December. The award ceremonies and the associated banquets are typically major international events. The Prizes awarded in Sweden's ceremonies are held at the Stockholm Concert Hall, with the Nobel banquet following immediately at
Stockholm City Hall Stockholm City Hall ( sv, Stockholms stadshus, ''Stadshuset'' locally) is the seat of Stockholm Municipality in Stockholm, Sweden. It stands on the eastern tip of Kungsholmen island, next to Riddarfjärden's northern shore and facing the islands ...
. The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony has been held at the
Norwegian Nobel Institute The Norwegian Nobel Institute ( no, Det Norske Nobelinstitutt) is located in Oslo, Norway. The institute is located at Henrik Ibsen Street 51 in the center of the city. It is situated just by the side of the Royal Palace, Oslo, Royal Palace. Hi ...
(1905–1946), at the
auditorium An auditorium is a room built to enable an audience to hear and watch performances. For movie theatres, the number of auditoria (or auditoriums) is expressed as the number of screens. Auditoria can be found in entertainment venues, community ...
of the
University of Oslo The University of Oslo ( no, Universitetet i Oslo; la, Universitas Osloensis) is a public university, public research university located in Oslo, Norway. It is the highest ranked and List of oldest universities in continuous operation#Europe, ...
(1947–1989), and at
Oslo City Hall Oslo City Hall ( no, Oslo rådhus) is a municipality, municipal building in Oslo, the capital of Norway. It houses the city council, the city's administration and various other municipal organisations. The building as it stands today was constr ...
(1990–present). Levinovitz, pp. 21–23 The highlight of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm occurs when each Nobel laureate steps forward to receive the prize from the hands of the
King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden is the monarchical head of state of Sweden,See the #IOG, Instrument of Government, Chapter 1, Article 5. which is a constitutional monarchy, constitutional and hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary system.Parliamentary ...
. In Oslo, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the
King of Norway The Norwegian monarch is the head of state of Norway, which is a constitutional monarchy, constitutional and hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary system. The Norwegian monarchy can trace its line back to the reign of Harald Fairhair and th ...
and the Norwegian royal family. At first, King
Oscar II Oscar II (Oscar Fredrik; 21 January 1829 – 8 December 1907) was King of Sweden from 1872 until his death in 1907 and King of Norway from 1872 to 1905. Oscar was the son of King Oscar I and Josephine of Leuchtenberg, Queen Josephine. He inheri ...
did not approve of awarding grand prizes to foreigners. It is said that he changed his mind once his attention had been drawn to the publicity value of the prizes for Sweden.


Nobel Banquet

After the award ceremony in Sweden, a banquet is held in the Blue Hall at the
Stockholm City Hall Stockholm City Hall ( sv, Stockholms stadshus, ''Stadshuset'' locally) is the seat of Stockholm Municipality in Stockholm, Sweden. It stands on the eastern tip of Kungsholmen island, next to Riddarfjärden's northern shore and facing the islands ...
, which is attended by the
Swedish Royal Family The Swedish royal family ( sv, Svenska kungafamiljen) since 1818 has consisted of members of the Sweden, Swedish Royal House of House of Bernadotte, Bernadotte, closely related to the King of Sweden. Today those who are recognized by the governme ...
and around 1,300 guests. The
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
banquet is held in Norway at the Oslo Grand Hotel after the award ceremony. Apart from the laureate, guests include the president of the
Storting The Storting ( no, Stortinget ) (lit. the Great Thing (assembly), Thing) is the supreme legislature of Norway, established in 1814 by the Constitution of Norway. It is located in Oslo. The Unicameralism, unicameral parliament has 169 members and ...
, on occasion the Swedish prime minister, and, since 2006, the King and Queen of Norway. In total, about 250 guests attend.


Nobel lecture

According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, each laureate is required to give a public lecture on a subject related to the topic of their prize. The Nobel lecture as a rhetorical genre 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, but some have happened even later. For example, US President
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or by his initials, T. R., was an American politician, statesman, soldier, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26t ...
received the Peace Prize in 1906 but gave his lecture in 1910, after his term in office. Abrams, pp. 18–19 The lectures are organized by the same association which selected the laureates.


Prizes


Medals

The Nobel Foundation announced on 30 May 2012 that it had awarded the contract for the production of the five (Swedish) Nobel Prize medals to Svenska Medalj AB. Between 1902 and 2010, the Nobel Prize medals were minted by Myntverket (the Swedish Mint), Sweden's oldest company, which ceased operations in 2011 after 107 years. In 2011, the Mint of Norway, located in Kongsberg, made the medals. The Nobel Prize medals are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation. Each medal features an image of Alfred Nobel in left profile on the
obverse Obverse and its opposite (semantics), opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coins and some other two-sided objects, including Currency#Paper money, paper money, flag terminology, flags, seal (emblem), seals, medals, drawings, old m ...
. The medals for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and literature have identical obverses, showing the image of Alfred Nobel and the years of his birth and death. Nobel's portrait also appears on the obverse of the Peace Prize medal and the medal for the Economics Prize, but with a slightly different design. For instance, the laureate's name is engraved on the rim of the Economics medal. Feldman, p. 2 The image on the reverse of a medal varies according to the institution awarding the prize. The reverse sides of the medals for chemistry and physics share the same design."Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Front and back images of the medal. 1954"
"Source: Photo by Eric Arnold. Ava Helen and
Linus Pauling Linus Carl Pauling (; February 28, 1901August 19, 1994) was an American chemist, biochemist, chemical engineer, peace activist, author, and educator. He published more than 1,200 papers and books, of which about 850 dealt with scientific topi ...
Papers. Honors and Awards, 1954h2.1", "All Documents and Media: Pictures and Illustrations", ''Linus Pauling and The Nature of the Chemical Bond: A Documentary History'', the Valley Library,
Oregon State University Oregon State University (OSU) is a Public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant, research university in Corvallis, Oregon. OSU offers more than 200 undergraduate-degree programs along with a variety of graduate and doctoral degree ...
. Retrieved 7 December 2007.
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 for each medal. The diameter is and the thickness varies between and . Because of the high value of their gold content and tendency to be on public display, Nobel medals are subject to medal theft. During World War II, the medals of German scientists
Max von Laue Max Theodor Felix von Laue (; 9 October 1879 – 24 April 1960) was a German physicist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals. In addition to his scientific endeavors with cont ...
and
James Franck James Franck (; 26 August 1882 – 21 May 1964) was a Germans, German physicist who won the 1925 Nobel Prize for Physics with Gustav Hertz "for their discovery of the laws governing the impact of an electron upon an atom". He completed his doc ...
were sent to Copenhagen for safekeeping. When Germany invaded Denmark, Hungarian chemist (and Nobel laureate himself)
George de Hevesy George Charles de Hevesy (born György Bischitz; hu, Hevesy György Károly; german: Georg Karl von Hevesy; 1 August 1885 – 5 July 1966) was a Hungarian Radiochemistry, radiochemist and Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate, recognized in 1943 ...
dissolved them in aqua regia (nitro-hydrochloric acid), to prevent confiscation by
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
and to prevent legal problems for the holders. After the war, the gold was recovered from solution, and the medals re-cast. Feldman, p. 397


Diplomas

Nobel laureates receive a diploma directly from the hands of the King of Sweden, or in the case of the peace prize, 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 in Swedish 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. Abrams, p. 18


Award money

The 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 per prize (c. 2.6 million SEK altogether, US$350,000 today). In 2009, the monetary award was 10 million SEK (US$1.4 million). In June 2012, it was lowered to 8 million SEK. If two laureates share the prize in a 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. Abrams, pp. 8–10 It is common for recipients to donate prize money to benefit scientific, cultural, or humanitarian causes.


Controversies and criticisms


Controversial recipients

Among other criticisms, the Nobel Committees have been accused of having a political agenda, and of omitting more deserving candidates. They have also been accused of
Eurocentrism Eurocentrism (also Eurocentricity or Western-centrism) is a worldview that is centered on Western civilization or a bias Bias is a disproportionate weight ''in favor of'' or ''against'' an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-m ...
, especially for the Literature Prize. Abrams, p. xiv Feldman, p. 65 ;Peace Prize Among the most criticised Nobel Peace Prizes was the one awarded to
Henry Kissinger Henry Alfred Kissinger (; ; born Heinz Alfred Kissinger, May 27, 1923) is a German-born American politician, diplomat, and Geopolitics, geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor (Unit ...
and Lê Đức Thọ. This led to the resignation of two Norwegian Nobel Committee members. Kissinger and Thọ were awarded the prize for negotiating a ceasefire between
North Vietnam North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV; vi, Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa), was a socialist state supported by the Soviet Union (USSR) and the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Southeast Asia that existed f ...
and the United States in January 1973. However, when the award was announced, both sides were still engaging in hostilities. Abrams, p. 219 Critics sympathetic to the North announced that Kissinger was not a peace-maker but the opposite, responsible for widening the war. Those hostile to the North and what they considered its deceptive practices during negotiations were deprived of a chance to criticise Lê Đức Thọ, as he declined the award. Feldman, p. 315 Abrams, p. 315 The satirist and musician
Tom Lehrer Thomas Andrew Lehrer (; born April 9, 1928) is an American former musician, singer-songwriter, satirist, and mathematician, having lectured on mathematics and musical theater. He is best known for the pithy and humorous songs that he recorded in ...
has remarked that "political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."
Yasser Arafat Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini (4 / 24 August 1929 – 11 November 2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat ( , ; ar, محمد ياسر عبد الرحمن عبد الرؤوف عرفات القدوة الحسيني, Mu ...
,
Shimon Peres Shimon Peres (; he, שמעון פרס ; born Szymon Perski; 2 August 1923 – 28 September 2016) was an Israeli politician who served as the eighth prime minister of Israel from 1984 to 1986 and from 1995 to 1996 and as the List of Presidents ...
, and
Yitzhak Rabin Yitzhak Rabin (; he, יִצְחָק רַבִּין, ; 1 March 1922 – 4 November 1995) was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth List of Prime Ministers of Israel, Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office ...
received the Peace Prize in 1994 for their efforts in making peace between Israel and Palestine. Levinovitz, p. 183 Immediately after the award was announced, one of the five Norwegian Nobel Committee members denounced Arafat as a terrorist and resigned. Feldman, pp. 15–16 Additional misgivings about Arafat were widely expressed in various newspapers. Abrams, pp. 302–306 Another controversial Peace Prize was that awarded to
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, Obama was the first Af ...
in 2009. Nominations had closed only eleven days after Obama took office as
President of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United St ...
, but the actual evaluation occurred over the next eight months. Obama himself stated that he did not feel deserving of the award, or worthy of the company in which it would place him. Past Peace Prize laureates were divided, some saying that Obama deserved the award, and others saying he had not secured the achievements to yet merit such an accolade. Obama's award, along with the previous Peace Prizes for
Jimmy Carter James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, he previously served as th ...
and
Al Gore Albert Arnold Gore Jr. (born March 31, 1948) is an American politician, businessman, and environmentalist who served as the 45th vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. Gore was the Democratic Part ...
, also prompted accusations of a liberal bias. ;Literature Prize The award of the 2004 Literature Prize to
Elfriede Jelinek Elfriede Jelinek (; born 20 October 1946) is an Austrian playwright and novelist. She is one of the most decorated authors writing in German today and was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature for her "musical flow of voices and counter-voi ...
drew a protest from a member of the Swedish Academy, Knut Ahnlund. Ahnlund resigned, alleging that the selection of Jelinek had caused "irreparable damage to all progressive forces, it has also confused the general view of literature as an art". He alleged that Jelinek's works were "a mass of text shovelled together without artistic structure". The 2009 Literature Prize to Herta Müller also generated criticism. According to ''
The Washington Post ''The Washington Post'' (also known as the ''Post'' and, informally, ''WaPo'') is an American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C. It is the most widely circulated newspaper within the Washington metropolitan area and has a large nati ...
'', many US literary critics and professors were ignorant of her work. This made those critics feel the prizes were too Eurocentric. The 2019 Literature Prize to
Peter Handke Peter Handke (; born 6 December 1942) is an Austrian novelist, playwright, translator, poet, film director, and screenwriter. He was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored ...
received heavy criticisms from various authors, such as
Salman Rushdie Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie (; born 19 June 1947) is an Indian-born British-American novelist. His work often combines magic realism with historical fiction Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a Setting (na ...
and Hari Kunzru, and was condemned by the governments of
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina ( sh, / , ), abbreviated BiH () or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and Pars pro toto#Geography, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country at the crossroads of Southern Europe, south and southeast Euro ...
,
Kosovo Kosovo ( sq, Kosova or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово ), officially the Republic of Kosovo ( sq, Republika e Kosovës, links=no; sr, Република Косово, Republika Kosovo, links=no), is a international recognition of Kosovo, partiall ...
, and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
, due to his history of
Bosnian genocide denial Bosnian genocide denial is an act of denying that the systematic Bosnian genocide against the Bosniak Muslim population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as planned and perpetrated in line with official and academic narratives defined and expressed by ...
ism and his support for Slobodan Milošević. ;Science prizes In 1949, the neurologist António Egas Moniz received the Physiology or Medicine Prize for his development of the prefrontal leucotomy. The previous year, Dr. Walter Freeman had developed a version of the procedure which was faster and easier to carry out. Due in part to the publicity surrounding the original procedure, Freeman's procedure was prescribed without due consideration or regard for modern
medical ethics Medical ethics is an applied branch of ethics which analyzes the practice of clinical medicine and related scientific research. Medical ethics is based on a set of values that professionals can refer to in the case of any confusion or conflict. T ...
. Endorsed by such influential publications as ''
The New England Journal of Medicine ''The New England Journal of Medicine'' (''NEJM'') is a weekly medical journal A medical journal is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that communicates medicine, medical information to Physician, physicians, other Health professional, health pr ...
'', leucotomy or "lobotomy" became so popular that about 5,000 lobotomies were performed in the United States in the three years immediately following Moniz's receipt of the Prize. Feldman, pp. 286–289


Overlooked achievements

Although
Mahatma Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; ; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948), popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist Quote: "... marks Gandhi as a hybrid cosmopolitan figure who transformed ... anti- ...
, an icon of
nonviolence Nonviolence is the personal practice of not causing harm to others under any condition. It may come from the belief that hurting people, animals and/or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome and it may refer to a general philosoph ...
in the 20th century, was nominated for the
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
five times, in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947, and a few days before he was assassinated on 30 January 1948, he was never awarded the prize. Levinovitz, pp. 181–186 In 1948, the year of Gandhi's death, the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to make no award that year on the grounds that "there was no suitable living candidate". Abrams, pp. 147–148 In 1989, this omission was publicly regretted, when the
14th Dalai Lama The 14th Dalai Lama (spiritual name Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, known as Tenzin Gyatso (Tibetan: བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་, Wylie: ''bsTan-'dzin rgya-mtsho''); né Lhamo Thondup), known as ...
was awarded the Peace Prize, the chairman of the committee said that it was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi". Geir Lundestad, 2006 Secretary of Norwegian Nobel Committee, said, Other high-profile individuals with widely recognised contributions to peace have been overlooked. In 2009, an article in ''
Foreign Policy A State (polity), state's foreign policy or external policy (as opposed to internal or domestic policy) is its objectives and activities in relation to its interactions with other states, unions, and other political entities, whether bilaterall ...
'' magazine identified seven people who "never won the prize, but should have". The list consisted of Gandhi,
Eleanor Roosevelt Anna Eleanor Roosevelt () (October 11, 1884November 7, 1962) was an American political figure, diplomat, and activist. She was the first lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four t ...
, Václav Havel, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sari Nusseibeh,
Corazon Aquino Maria Corazon "Cory" Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino (; ; January 25, 1933 – August 1, 2009) was a Filipinos, Filipina politician who served as the List of presidents of the Philippines, 11th president of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992. She w ...
, and
Liu Xiaobo Liu Xiaobo (; 28 December 1955 – 13 July 2017) was a Chinese writer, literary critic, human rights activist, philosopher and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who called for political reforms and was involved in campaigns to end communist ...
. Liu Xiaobo would go on to win the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize while imprisoned. In 1965, UN Secretary General U Thant was informed by the Norwegian Permanent Representative to the UN that he would be awarded that year's prize and asked whether or not he would accept. He consulted staff and later replied that he would. At the same time, Chairman Gunnar Jahn of the Nobel Peace prize committee, lobbied heavily against giving U Thant the prize and the prize was at the last minute awarded to
UNICEF UNICEF (), originally called the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund in full, now officially United Nations Children's Fund, is an agency of the United Nations responsible for providing Humanitarianism, humanitarian and Devel ...
. The rest of the committee all wanted the prize to go to U Thant, for his work in defusing the
Cuban Missile Crisis The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis (of 1962) ( es, Crisis de Octubre) in Cuba, the Caribbean Crisis () in Russia, or the Missile Scare, was a 35-day (16 October – 20 November 1962) confrontation between the United S ...
, ending the war in the Congo, and his ongoing work to mediate an end to the Vietnam War. The disagreement lasted three years and in 1966 and 1967 no prize was given, with Gunnar Jahn effectively vetoing an award to U Thant. The Literature Prize also has controversial omissions. Adam Kirsch has suggested that many notable writers have missed out on the award for political or extra-literary reasons. The heavy focus on European and Swedish authors has been a subject of criticism. The Eurocentric nature of the award was acknowledged by Peter Englund, the 2009 Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, as a problem with the award and was attributed to the tendency for the academy to relate more to European authors. This tendency towards European authors still leaves many European writers on a list of notable writers that have been overlooked for the Literature Prize, including
Leo Tolstoy Count Lev Nikolayevich TolstoyTolstoy pronounced his first name as , which corresponds to the romanization ''Lyov''. () (; russian: link=no, Лев Николаевич Толстой,In Tolstoy's day, his name was written as in Reforms of ...
,
Anton Chekhov Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (; 29 January 1860 Old Style date 17 January. – 15 July 1904 Old Style date 2 July.) was a Russian playwright and short-story writer who is considered to be one of the greatest writers of all time. His career ...
, J. R. R. Tolkien, Émile Zola,
Marcel Proust Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (; ; 10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922) was a French novelist, critic, and essayist who wrote the monumental novel '' In Search of Lost Time'' (''À la recherche du temps perdu''; with the previous ...
,
Vladimir Nabokov Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (russian: link=no, Владимир Владимирович Набоков ; 2 July 1977), also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin (), was a Russian-American novelist, poet, translator, and Entomology, entomo ...
,
James Joyce James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist, poet, and literary critic. He contributed to the Modernism, modernist avant-garde movement and is regarded as one of the most influential and important ...
,
August Strindberg Johan August Strindberg (, ; 22 January 184914 May 1912) was a Swedish people, Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter.Lane (1998), 1040. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg wrote mo ...
, Simon Vestdijk, Karel Čapek, the
New World The term ''New World'' is often used to mean the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 3 ...
's
Jorge Luis Borges Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo (; ; 24 August 1899 – 14 June 1986) was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, as well as a key figure in Spanish literature, Spanish-language and international literatur ...
,
Ezra Pound Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972) was an expatriate American poet and critic, a major figure in the early modernist poetry movement, and a Fascism, fascist collaborator in Italy during World War II. His works ...
,
John Updike John Hoyer Updike (March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009) was an American novelist, poet, short-story writer, art critic, and literary critic. One of only four writers to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once (the others being Booth Tar ...
,
Arthur Miller Arthur Asher Miller (October 17, 1915 – February 10, 2005) was an American playwright, essayist and screenwriter in the 20th-century Theater in the United States, American theater. Among his most popular plays are ''All My Sons'' (1947), ...
,
Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was praised as the "greatest humorist the United States has pr ...
, and Africa's
Chinua Achebe Chinua Achebe (; 16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013) was a Nigerian novelist, poet, and Literary criticism, critic who is regarded as the dominant figure of modern African literature. His first novel and ''magnum opus'', ''Things Fall Apart'' ...
. Feldman, pp. 56–57 Candidates can receive multiple nominations the same year. Gaston Ramon received a total of 155 nominations in physiology or medicine from 1930 to 1953, the last year with public nomination data for that award . He died in 1963 without being awarded. Pierre Paul Émile Roux received 115 nominations in physiology or medicine, and
Arnold Sommerfeld Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld, (; 5 December 1868 – 26 April 1951) was a Germans, German theoretical physicist who pioneered developments in atomic physics, atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and mentored many students for th ...
received 84 in physics. These are the three most nominated scientists without awards in the data published .
Otto Stern :''Otto Stern was also the pen name of German women's rights activist Louise Otto-Peters (1819–1895)''. Otto Stern (; 17 February 1888 – 17 August 1969) was a German people, German-American physicist and Nobel Prize in Physics, Nobel laureat ...
received 79 nominations in physics 1925–1943 before being awarded in 1943. The strict rule against awarding a prize to more than three people is also controversial. Levinovitz, p. 61 When a prize is awarded to recognise an achievement by a team of more than three collaborators, one or more will miss out. For example, in 2002, the prize was awarded to
Koichi Tanaka is a Japanese electrical engineer who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2002 for developing a novel method for Mass spectrometry, mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules with John Bennett Fenn and Kurt Wüthrich (the latt ...
and John Fenn for the development of
mass spectrometry Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique that is used to measure the mass-to-charge ratio of ions. The results are presented as a ''mass spectrum'', a plot of intensity as a function of the mass-to-charge ratio. Mass spectrometry is us ...
in protein chemistry, an award that did not recognise the achievements of Franz Hillenkamp and Michael Karas of the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Frankfurt. According to one of the nominees for the prize in physics, the three person limit deprived him and two other members of his team of the honor in 2013: the team of Carl Hagen,
Gerald Guralnik Gerald Stanford "Gerry" Guralnik (; September 17, 1936 – April 26, 2014) was the Chancellor’s Professor of Physics at Brown University. In 1964 he co-discovered the Higgs mechanism and Higgs boson with C. R. Hagen and Tom Kibble (GHK). As part ...
, and
Tom Kibble Sir Thomas Walter Bannerman Kibble (; 23 December 1932 – 2 June 2016) was a British theoretical physicist Theoretical physics is a branch of physics that employs mathematical models and abstractions of physical objects and systems to rat ...
published a paper in 1964 that gave answers to how the cosmos began, but did not share the 2013 Physics Prize awarded to
Peter Higgs Peter Ware Higgs (born 29 May 1929) is a British people, British Theoretical physics, theoretical physicist, Emeritus Professor in the University of Edinburgh,Griggs, Jessica (Summer 2008The Missing Piece ''Edit'' the University of Edinburgh A ...
and François Englert, who had also published papers in 1964 concerning the subject. All five physicists arrived at the same conclusion, albeit from different angles. Hagen contends that an equitable solution is to either abandon the three limit restriction, or expand the time period of recognition for a given achievement to two years. Similarly, the prohibition of posthumous awards fails to recognise achievements by an individual or collaborator who dies before the prize is awarded. The Economics Prize was not awarded to
Fischer Black Fischer Sheffey Black (January 11, 1938 – August 30, 1995) was an Americans, American economist, best known as one of the authors of the Black–Scholes model, Black–Scholes equation. Background Fischer Sheffey Black was born on January 11, ...
, who died in 1995, when his co-author Myron Scholes received the honor in 1997 for their landmark work on option pricing along with Robert C. Merton, another pioneer in the development of valuation of stock options. In the announcement of the award that year, the Nobel committee prominently mentioned Black's key role. Political subterfuge may also deny proper recognition.
Lise Meitner Elise Meitner ( , ; 7 November 1878 – 27 October 1968) was an Austrian-Swedish physicist who was one of those responsible for the discovery of the element protactinium and nuclear fission. While working at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute on rad ...
and
Fritz Strassmann Friedrich Wilhelm Strassmann (; 22 February 1902 – 22 April 1980) was a German chemist who, with Otto Hahn in December 1938, identified the element barium as a product of the bombardment of uranium with neutrons. Their observation was the key ...
, who co-discovered nuclear fission along with
Otto Hahn Otto Hahn (; 8 March 1879 – 28 July 1968) was a German chemist who was a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is referred to as the father of nuclear chemistry and father of nuclear fission. Hahn and Lise Meitner dis ...
, may have been denied a share of Hahn's 1944 Nobel Chemistry Award due to having fled Germany when the
Nazis Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the far-right politics, far-right Totalitarianism, totalitarian political ideology and practices associated with Adolf Hit ...
came to power. The Meitner and Strassmann roles in the research was not fully recognised until years later, when they joined Hahn in receiving the 1966
Enrico Fermi Award The Enrico Fermi Award is a scientific award conferred by the President of the United States. It is awarded to honor scientists of international stature for their lifetime achievement in the development, use, or production of energy. It was establ ...
.


Emphasis on discoveries over inventions

Alfred Nobel left his fortune to finance annual prizes to be awarded "to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind". He stated that the Nobel Prizes in Physics should be given "to the person who shall have made the most important 'discovery' or 'invention' within the field of physics". Nobel did not emphasise discoveries, but they have historically been held in higher respect by the Nobel Prize Committee than inventions: 77% of the Physics Prizes have been given to discoveries, compared with only 23% to inventions. Christoph Bartneck and Matthias Rauterberg, in papers published in ''
Nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the physics, physical world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomenon, phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. ...
'' and ''Technoetic Arts'', have argued this emphasis on discoveries has moved the Nobel Prize away from its original intention of rewarding the greatest contribution to society.


Gender disparity

In terms of the most prestigious awards in
STEM Stem or STEM may refer to: Plant structures * Plant stem, a plant's aboveground axis, made of vascular tissue, off which leaves and flowers hang * Stipe (botany), a stalk to support some other structure * Stipe (mycology), the stem of a mushro ...
fields, only a small proportion have been awarded to women. Out of 210 laureates in Physics, 181 in Chemistry and 216 in Medicine between 1901 and 2018, there were only three female laureates in physics, five in chemistry and 12 in medicine. Factors proposed to contribute to the discrepancy between this and the roughly equal
human sex ratio In anthropology and demography, the human sex ratio is the ratio of male, males to female, females in a population. Like most sexual species, the sex ratio in humans is close to 1:1. In humans, the natural ratio at birth between males and fema ...
include biased nominations, fewer women than men being active in the relevant fields, Nobel Prizes typically being awarded decades after the research was done (reflecting a time when
gender bias Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on one's sex or gender. Sexism can affect anyone, but it primarily affects women and girls.There is a clear and broad consensus among academic scholars in multiple fields that sexism refers primaril ...
in the relevant fields was greater), a greater delay in awarding Nobel Prizes for women's achievements making longevity a more important factor for women (one cannot be nominated for the Nobel Prize posthumously), and a tendency to omit women from jointly awarded Nobel Prizes. Despite these factors, Marie Curie is to date the only person awarded Nobel Prizes in two different sciences (Physics in 1903, Chemistry in 1911); she is one of only three people who have received two Nobel Prizes in sciences (see Multiple laureates below).
Malala Yousafzai Malala Yousafzai ( ur, , , pronunciation: ; born 12 July 1997), is a Pakistani female education activist and the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Awarded when she was 17, she is the world's youngest Nobel Prize laureate, and the List of Pak ...
is the youngest person ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. When she received it in 2014, she was only 17 years old.


Status of the Economic Sciences Prize

Peter Nobel describes the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel as a "false Nobel prize" that dishonours his relative Alfred Nobel, after whom the prize is named, and considers economics to be a pseudoscience.


Statistics

* Youngest person to receive a Nobel Prize: *:
Malala Yousafzai Malala Yousafzai ( ur, , , pronunciation: ; born 12 July 1997), is a Pakistani female education activist and the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Awarded when she was 17, she is the world's youngest Nobel Prize laureate, and the List of Pak ...
; at the age of 17, received
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
(2014). * Oldest person to receive a Nobel Prize: *: John B. Goodenough; at the age of 97, received
Nobel Prize in Chemistry ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "M ...
(2019). * Only person to receive more than one unshared Nobel Prize: *:
Linus Pauling Linus Carl Pauling (; February 28, 1901August 19, 1994) was an American chemist, biochemist, chemical engineer, peace activist, author, and educator. He published more than 1,200 papers and books, of which about 850 dealt with scientific topi ...
; received the prize twice.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "M ...
(1954) and
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
(1962). * Laureates who have received Multiple Nobel Prizes: (by date of second Prize) *#
Marie Curie Marie Salomea Skłodowska–Curie ( , , ; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska, ; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish minority in France, Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioact ...
; received the prize twice.
Nobel Prize in Physics ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then " ...
(1903) and
Nobel Prize in Chemistry ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "M ...
(1911). *#
International Committee of the Red Cross The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC; french: Comité international de la Croix-Rouge) is a aid agency, humanitarian organization which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and it is also a three-time Nobel Prize Laureate. State parti ...
; received the prize three times.
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
(1917, 1944, 1963). *#
Linus Pauling Linus Carl Pauling (; February 28, 1901August 19, 1994) was an American chemist, biochemist, chemical engineer, peace activist, author, and educator. He published more than 1,200 papers and books, of which about 850 dealt with scientific topi ...
; received the prize twice.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "M ...
(1954) and
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
(1962). *#
John Bardeen John Bardeen (; May 23, 1908 – January 30, 1991) was an American physicist and engineer. He is the only person to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics twice: first in 1956 with William Shockley and Walter Houser Brattain, Walter Brattain for t ...
; received the prize twice.
Nobel Prize in Physics ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then " ...
(1956, 1972). *#
Frederick Sanger Frederick Sanger (; 13 August 1918 – 19 November 2013) was an English biochemist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry twice. He won the 1958 Chemistry Prize for determining the amino acid sequence of insulin and numerous other pr ...
; received the prize twice.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "M ...
(1958, 1980). *#
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a United Nations agency mandated to aid and Humanitarian protection, protect refugees, Internally displaced person, forcibly displaced communities, and Statelessness, stateless peopl ...
; received the prize twice.
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
(1954, 1981). *# Karl Barry Sharpless; received the prize twice.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "M ...
(2001, 2022). * Posthumous Nobel Prizes laureates: *# Erik Axel Karlfeldt; received
Nobel Prize in Literature ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , caption = , awarded_for = Outstanding contributions in literature , presenter = Swedish Academy , holder = Annie Ernaux (2022) , location = Stockholm, Sweden , year = 1901 , ...
(1931). *# Dag Hammarskjöld; received
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
(1961). *# Ralph M. Steinman; received
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded yearly by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute, Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska Institute for outstanding discoveries in physiology or medicine. The Nobel Pr ...
(2011). *Married couples to receive Nobel Prizes: :#
Marie Curie Marie Salomea Skłodowska–Curie ( , , ; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska, ; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish minority in France, Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioact ...
,
Pierre Curie Pierre Curie ( , ; 15 May 1859 – 19 April 1906) was a French physicist, a pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity, and radioactivity. In 1903, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics with his wife, Marie Curie, and Henri Becquere ...
(along with
Henri Becquerel Antoine Henri Becquerel (; 15 December 1852 – 25 August 1908) was a French engineer, physicist, Nobel laureate, and the first person to discover evidence of radioactivity. For work in this field he, along with Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pier ...
). Received
Nobel Prize in Physics ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then " ...
(1903). :# Irène Joliot-Curie, Frédéric Joliot. Received
Nobel Prize in Chemistry ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "M ...
(1935). :#
Gerty Cori Gerty Theresa Cori (; August 15, 1896 – October 26, 1957) was an Austro-Hungarian and American biochemist who in 1947 was the third woman to win a Nobel Prize in science, and the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Me ...
, Carl Cori. Received
Nobel Prize in Medicine The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded yearly by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute for outstanding discoveries in physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific study of functions and mechanisms in a living s ...
(1947). :#
Gunnar Myrdal Karl Gunnar Myrdal ( ; ; 6 December 1898 – 17 May 1987) was a Swedish economist and sociologist. In 1974, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences along with Friedrich Hayek for "their pioneering work in the theory of money an ...
received Nobel Prize in Economics Sciences (1974), Alva Myrdal received
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemi ...
(1982). :# May-Britt Moser, Edvard I. Moser. Received
Nobel Prize in Medicine The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded yearly by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute for outstanding discoveries in physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific study of functions and mechanisms in a living s ...
(2014) :# Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee (along with
Michael Kremer Michael Robert Kremer (born November 12, 1964) is an American Development economics, development economist who is University Professor in Economics And Public Policy at the University of Chicago. He is the founding director of the Development I ...
). Received Nobel Prize in Economics Sciences (2019).


Specially distinguished laureates


Multiple laureates

Five people have received two Nobel Prizes.
Marie Curie Marie Salomea Skłodowska–Curie ( , , ; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska, ; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish minority in France, Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioact ...
received the Physics Prize in 1903 for her work on radioactivity and the Chemistry Prize in 1911 for the isolation of pure
radium Radium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ra and atomic number 88. It is the sixth element in alkaline earth metal, group 2 of the periodic table, also known as the alkaline earth metals. Pure radium is silvery-white, but ...
, making her the only person to be awarded a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.
Linus Pauling Linus Carl Pauling (; February 28, 1901August 19, 1994) was an American chemist, biochemist, chemical engineer, peace activist, author, and educator. He published more than 1,200 papers and books, of which about 850 dealt with scientific topi ...
was awarded the 1954 Chemistry Prize for his research into the
chemical bond A chemical bond is a lasting attraction between atoms or ions that enables the formation of Molecule, molecules and crystals. The bond may result from the Coulomb's law, electrostatic force between oppositely charged ions as in Ionic bonding, ...
and its application to the
structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system, or the object or system so organized. Material structures include man-made objects such as buildings and machines and natural objects such as ...
of complex substances. Pauling was also awarded the Peace Prize in 1962 for his activism against nuclear weapons, making him the only laureate of two unshared prizes.
John Bardeen John Bardeen (; May 23, 1908 – January 30, 1991) was an American physicist and engineer. He is the only person to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics twice: first in 1956 with William Shockley and Walter Houser Brattain, Walter Brattain for t ...
received the Physics Prize twice: in 1956 for the invention of the
transistor file:MOSFET Structure.png, upright=1.4, Metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), showing Metal gate, gate (G), body (B), source (S) and drain (D) terminals. The gate is separated from the body by an insulating layer (pink). A ...
and in 1972 for the theory of
superconductivity Superconductivity is a set of physical properties observed in certain materials where electrical resistance The electrical resistance of an object is a measure of its opposition to the flow of electric current. Its Multiplicative inverse, ...
. Feldman, p. 180
Frederick Sanger Frederick Sanger (; 13 August 1918 – 19 November 2013) was an English biochemist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry twice. He won the 1958 Chemistry Prize for determining the amino acid sequence of insulin and numerous other pr ...
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.#Shalev69, Shalev, p. 78 Feldman, p. 222 Karl Barry Sharpless was awarded the 2001 Chemistry Prize for his research into chirally catalysed oxidation reactions, and the 2022 Chemistry Prize for click chemistry. Two organizations have received the Peace Prize multiple times. The
International Committee of the Red Cross The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC; french: Comité international de la Croix-Rouge) is a aid agency, humanitarian organization which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and it is also a three-time Nobel Prize Laureate. State parti ...
received it three times: in 1917 and 1944 for its work during the world wars; and in 1963 during the year of its centenary. Abrams, p. 84 Abrams, p. 149 Abrams, pp. 199–200 The
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a United Nations agency mandated to aid and Humanitarian protection, protect refugees, Internally displaced person, forcibly displaced communities, and Statelessness, stateless peopl ...
has been awarded the Peace Prize twice for assisting refugees: in 1954 and 1981. Feldman, p. 313


Family laureates

The Curie Family, Curie family has received the most prizes, with four prizes awarded to five individual laureates.
Marie Curie Marie Salomea Skłodowska–Curie ( , , ; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska, ; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish minority in France, Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioact ...
received the prizes in Physics (in 1903) and Chemistry (in 1911). Her husband,
Pierre Curie Pierre Curie ( , ; 15 May 1859 – 19 April 1906) was a French physicist, a pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity, and radioactivity. In 1903, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics with his wife, Marie Curie, and Henri Becquere ...
, shared the 1903 Physics prize with her. Their daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, received the Chemistry Prize in 1935 together with her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie. In addition, the husband of Marie Curie's second daughter, Henry Richardson Labouisse, Jr., Henry Labouisse, was the director of
UNICEF UNICEF (), originally called the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund in full, now officially United Nations Children's Fund, is an agency of the United Nations responsible for providing Humanitarianism, humanitarian and Devel ...
when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 on that organisation's behalf. Feldman, p. 405 Although no family matches the Curie family's record, there have been several with two laureates. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to the husband-and-wife team of
Gerty Cori Gerty Theresa Cori (; August 15, 1896 – October 26, 1957) was an Austro-Hungarian and American biochemist who in 1947 was the third woman to win a Nobel Prize in science, and the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Me ...
and Carl Ferdinand Cori in 1947 Prize, and by the husband-and-wife team of May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser in 2014 (along with John O'Keefe (neuroscientist), John O'Keefe). The Physics Prize in 1906 was won by J. J. Thomson for showing that electrons are particles, and in 1937 by his son, George Paget Thomson, for showing that they Wave–particle duality, also have the properties of waves.#Gribbin69, Gribbin, p. 91 William Henry Bragg and his son, William Lawrence Bragg, shared the Physics Prize in 1915 for inventing X-ray crystallography. Niels Bohr was awarded the Physics Prize in 1922, as was his son, Aage Bohr, in 1975. The Physics Prize was awarded to Manne Siegbahn in 1924, followed by his son, Kai Siegbahn, in 1981. Hans von Euler-Chelpin, who received the Chemistry Prize in 1929, was the father of Ulf von Euler, who was awarded the Physiology or Medicine Prize in 1970. C. V. Raman was awarded the Physics Prize in 1930 and was the uncle of
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (; ) (19 October 1910 – 21 August 1995) was an Indian Americans, Indian-American Theoretical physics, theoretical physicist who spent his professional life in the United States. He shared the 1983 Nobel Prize for ...
, who was awarded the same prize in 1983. Feldman, p. 406 Arthur Kornberg received the Physiology or Medicine Prize in 1959; Kornberg's son Roger D. Kornberg, Roger later received the Chemistry Prize in 2006. Arthur Schawlow received the 1981 Physics prize, and was married to the sister of 1964 Physics laureate Charles Townes. Two members of the Hodgkin family received Nobels in consecutive years: Alan Hodgkin, Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin shared in the Nobel for Physiology or Medicine in 1963, followed by Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, the wife of his first cousin, who won solo for Chemistry in 1964.
Jan Tinbergen Jan Tinbergen (; ; 12 April 19039 June 1994) was a Dutch economist who was awarded the first Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1969, which he shared with Ragnar Frisch for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of ...
, who was awarded the first Economics Prize in 1969, was the brother of Nikolaas Tinbergen, who received the 1973 Physiology or Medicine Prize.
Gunnar Myrdal Karl Gunnar Myrdal ( ; ; 6 December 1898 – 17 May 1987) was a Swedish economist and sociologist. In 1974, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences along with Friedrich Hayek for "their pioneering work in the theory of money an ...
who was awarded the Economics Prize in 1974, was the husband of Alva Myrdal, Peace Prize laureate in 1982. Economics laureates Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow were brothers-in-law. Frits Zernike, who was awarded the 1953 Physics Prize, is the great-uncle of 1999 Physics laureate Gerard 't Hooft. In 2019, married couple Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo were awarded the Economics Prize. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard was awarded the Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995, and her nephew Benjamin List received the Chemistry Prize in 2021. Sune Bergström was awarded the Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1982, and his son Svante Pääbo was awarded the same prize in 2022. Edwin McMillan, who was awarded the Prize in Chemistry in 1951, is the uncle of John Clauser, who was awarded the Prize in Physics in 2022.


Refusals and constraints

Two laureates have voluntarily declined the Nobel Prize. In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Literature Prize but refused, stating, "A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honourable form." Lê Đức Thọ, chosen for the 1973 Peace Prize for his role in the Paris Peace Accords, declined, stating that there was no actual peace in Vietnam. George Bernard Shaw attempted to decline the prize money while accepting the 1925 Literature Prize; eventually it was agreed to use it to found the Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation. During the Third Reich,
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populo ...
hindered
Richard Kuhn Richard Johann Kuhn (; 3 December 1900 – 1 August 1967) was an Austrian-German biochemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938 "for his work on carotenoids and vitamins". Biography Early life Kuhn was born in Vienna, Austria ...
, Adolf Butenandt, and
Gerhard Domagk Gerhard Johannes Paul Domagk (; 30 October 1895 – 24 April 1964) was a German pathologist and bacteriologist. He is credited with the discovery of Sulfonamide (medicine), sulfonamidochrysoidine (KL730) as an antibiotic for which he received the ...
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 travelled 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 back 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 Myanmar, Burma; Suu Kyi delivered her speech two decades later, in 2012.
Liu Xiaobo Liu Xiaobo (; 28 December 1955 – 13 July 2017) was a Chinese writer, literary critic, human rights activist, philosopher and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who called for political reforms and was involved in campaigns to end communist ...
was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 while he and his wife were under house arrest in China as political prisoners, and he was unable to accept the prize in his lifetime.


Cultural impact

Being a symbol of scientific or literary achievement that is recognisable worldwide, the Nobel Prize is often depicted in fiction. This includes films like ''The Prize (1963 film), The Prize'' (1963), ''Nobel Son'' (2007), and ''The Wife (2017 film), The Wife'' (2017) about fictional Nobel laureates, as well as fictionalised accounts of stories surrounding real prizes such as ''Nobel Chor'', a 2012 film based on the Rabindranath Tagore#Theft of Nobel Prize, theft of Rabindranath Tagore's prize. The statue and memorial symbol ''Planet of Alfred Nobel'' was opened in Alfred Nobel University of Economics and Law in Dnipro, Ukraine in 2008. On the globe, there are 802 Nobel laureates' reliefs made of a composite alloy obtained when disposing of military strategic missiles. Despite the symbolism of intellectual achievement, some recipients have embraced unsupported and Pseudoscience, pseudoscientific concepts, including various Vitamin C and the Common Cold (book)#Research, writing and revisions, health benefits of vitamin C and other dietary supplements, homeopathy, HIV/AIDS denialism, and various claims about race and intelligence. This is sometimes referred to as Nobel disease.


See also

* List of Nobel laureates ** List of female Nobel laureates ** List of Nobel laureates by country ** List of Nobel laureates in Chemistry ** List of Nobel laureates in Literature ** List of Nobel Peace Prize laureates ** List of Nobel laureates in Physics ** List of Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine ** List of Nobel Memorial Prize laureates in Economics * * * * List of prizes known as the Nobel of a field * Lists of science and technology awards * * * *


References


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External links

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Nobel Prizes by universities and institutes
{{Authority control Nobel Prize, Academic awards Alfred Nobel Articles containing video clips Awards established in 1895 International awards Science and technology in Sweden Science and technology awards Swedish science and technology awards Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 1895 establishments in Sweden