Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize (/ˈnoʊbɛl/, Swedish pronunciation: [nʊˈbɛlː]; Swedish definite form, singular: Nobelpriset; Norwegian: Nobelprisen) is a set of annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances.

The will of the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel established the five Nobel prizes in 1895. The prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine were first awarded in 1901.[1][3][4] The prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards available in the fields of chemistry, literature, peace activism, physics, and physiology or medicine.[5][6][7]

In 1968, Sweden's central bank, Sveriges Riksbank, established the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which, although not a Nobel Prize,[8] has become informally known as the "Nobel Prize in Economics".[9][10][11]

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Nobel Prize in Physics, and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; the Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature; and the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize.

Between 1901 and 2018, the Nobel Prizes (and the Prizes in Economic Sciences, from 1969 on) were awarded 590 times to 935 people and organizations.[1] With some receiving the Nobel Prize more than once, this makes a total of 27 organizations and 908 individuals.[1][12] The prize ceremonies take place annually in Stockholm, Sweden (with the exception of the Peace Prize ceremony, which is held in Oslo, Norway). Each recipient (known as a "laureate") receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money that has been decided by the Nobel Foundation. (As of 2017, each prize is worth 9,000,000 SEK, or about US$1,110,000, €944,000, £836,000 or ₹73,800,000.[13]) Medals made before 1980 were struck in 23-carat gold, and later in 18-carat green gold plated with a 24-carat gold coating.

The prize is not awarded posthumously; however, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it, the prize may still be presented.[14] 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.[15]

Nobel Prize
A golden medallion with an embossed image of Alfred Nobel 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 "MDCCCXXXIII" above, followed by (smaller) "OB•" then "MDCCCXCVI" below.
Awarded forOutstanding contributions for humanity in chemistry, literature, peace, physics, physiology or medicine, and economic sciences
Country
  • Sweden (all prizes except the Peace Prize)
  • Norway (Peace Prize only)
Presented by
Reward(s)Prize money of 9 million SEK, approx. US$986,000 (2018);[1]
a medal;[2] and a diploma
First awarded1901
Number of laureates590 prizes to 935 laureates (as of 2018)[1]
Websitenobelprize.org

History

AlfredNobel adjusted
Alfred Nobel had the unpleasant surprise of reading his own obituary, which was titled The merchant of death is dead, in a French newspaper.

Alfred Nobel (listen ) was born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, into a family of engineers.[16] He was a chemist, engineer, and inventor. In 1894, Nobel purchased the Bofors iron and steel mill, which he made into a major armaments manufacturer. Nobel also invented ballistite. This invention was a precursor to many smokeless military explosives, especially the British smokeless powder cordite. As a consequence of his patent claims, Nobel was eventually involved in a patent infringement lawsuit over cordite. Nobel amassed a fortune during his lifetime, with most of his wealth coming from his 355 inventions, of which dynamite is the most famous.[17]

In 1888, Nobel was astonished to read his own obituary, titled The merchant of death is dead, in a French newspaper. As 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.[18] On 10 December 1896, Alfred Nobel died in his villa in San Remo, Italy, from a cerebral haemorrhage. He was 63 years old.[19]

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.[20][21] 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, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace.[22] Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million SEK (c. US$186 million, €150 million in 2008), to establish the five Nobel Prizes.[23][24] Because of skepticism surrounding the will, it was not until 26 April 1897 that it was approved by the Storting in Norway.[25] The executors of Nobel's will, Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist, formed the Nobel Foundation to take care of Nobel's fortune and organised the award of prizes.[26]

Nobel's instructions named a Norwegian Nobel Committee 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 on 7 June, the Swedish Academy on 9 June, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on 11 June.[27] The Nobel Foundation reached an agreement on guidelines for how the prizes should be awarded; and, in 1900, the Nobel Foundation's newly created statutes were promulgated by King Oscar II.[22] In 1905, the personal union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved.

Nobel Foundation

Formation of Foundation

Alfred Nobels will-November 25th, 1895
Alfred Nobel's will stated that 94% of his total assets should be used to establish the Nobel Prizes.

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 from the shares 94% of his fortune to the Nobel Foundation that now forms the economic base of the Nobel Prize.[28]

The Nobel Foundation was founded as a private organization on 29 June 1900. Its function is to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes.[29] In accordance with Nobel's will, the primary task of the Foundation is to manage the fortune Nobel left. Robert and Ludvig Nobel were involved in the oil business in Azerbaijan, and according to Swedish historian E. Bargengren, who accessed the Nobel family archives, it was this "decision to allow withdrawal of Alfred's money from Baku that became the decisive factor that enabled the Nobel Prizes to be established".[30] 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.[31][32] In many ways, the Nobel Foundation is similar to an investment company, 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).[33] 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).[34]

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 is appointed by the Swedish King in Council, with the other four members appointed by the trustees of the prize-awarding institutions. An Executive Director is chosen from among the board members, a Deputy Director is appointed by the King in Council, and two deputies are appointed by the trustees. 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 trustees of these institutions, and auditors.[34]

Foundation capital and cost

The capital of the Nobel Foundation today is invested 50 % in shares, 20 % bonds and 30 % other investments (e.g. hedge funds or real estate). The distribution can vary by 10 percent.[35] 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.[36]

In 2011, the total annual cost was approximately 120 million krona, with 50 million krona as the prize money. Further costs to pay institutions and persons engaged in giving the prizes were 27,4 million krona. The events during the Nobel week in Stockholm and Oslo cost 20,2 million krona. The administration, Nobel symposium, and similar items had costs of 22.4 million krona. The cost of the Economic Sciences prize of 16.5 Million krona is paid by the Sveriges Riksbank.[35]

First prizes

Röntgen, Wilhelm Conrad (1845-1923)
Wilhelm Röntgen received the first Physics Prize for his discovery of X-rays.

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-rays and Philipp Lenard's work on cathode rays. The Academy of Sciences selected Röntgen for the prize.[37][38] 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".[39] The Academy received 20 nominations, eleven of them for Jacobus van 't Hoff.[40] Van 't Hoff was awarded the prize for his contributions in chemical thermodynamics.[41][42]

The Swedish Academy chose the poet Sully Prudhomme 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 to be awarded.[43] 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 and thus selected a Victorian poet.[44] The first Physiology or Medicine Prize went to the German physiologist and microbiologist Emil von Behring. During the 1890s, von Behring developed an antitoxin to treat diphtheria, which until then was causing thousands of deaths each year.[45][46]

The first Nobel Peace Prize went to the Swiss Jean Henri Dunant 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's Third Reich forbade three laureates from Germany (Richard Kuhn, Adolf Friedrich Johann Butenandt, and Gerhard Domagk) from accepting their prizes.[47] Each man was later able to receive the diploma and medal.[48] 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.[49]

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 was Swedish property. Thus it was a safe haven from the German military, which was not at war with Sweden.[50] 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.[47]

Prize in Economic Sciences

Worldmapnobellaureatesbycountry2
Map of Nobel laureates by country

In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden's central bank) celebrated its 300th anniversary by donating a large sum of money to the Nobel Foundation to be used to set up a prize in honor of 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 and Ragnar Frisch "for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes".[51][52] The Board of the Nobel Foundation decided that after this addition, it would allow no further new prizes.[53]

Award process

The award process is similar for all of the Nobel Prizes; the main difference is in who can make nominations for each of them.[54]

The announcement of the laureates in Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009 by Gunnar Öquist, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
2009 Nobel Prize in Literature announcement by Peter Englund in Swedish, English, and German

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.[54][55] The Nobel Committee nominates about 300 potential laureates from these forms and additional names.[56] 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.[57][58]

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.[59] 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.[60] 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.[61]

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 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) was announced but before it could be presented.[62] On 3 October 2011, the laureates for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 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.[14] The committee later decided that as the decision to award Steinman the prize "was made in good faith", it would remain unchanged.[63]

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.[64] However, some of those early discoveries were later discredited. For example, Johannes Fibiger was awarded the 1926 Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his purported discovery of a parasite that caused cancer.[65] To avoid repeating this embarrassment, the awards increasingly recognised scientific discoveries that had withstood the test of time.[66][67][68] 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."[67]

Nobelinstituttet 20080913-01
The committee room of the Norwegian Nobel Committee

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.[69][70] The Peace Prize can also be awarded for a lifetime body of work. For example, 2008 laureate Martti Ahtisaari was awarded for his work to resolve international conflicts.[71][72] However, they can also be awarded for specific recent events.[73] For instance, Kofi Annan was awarded the 2001 Peace Prize just four years after becoming the Secretary-General of the United Nations.[74] Similarly Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres received the 1994 award, about a year after they successfully concluded the Oslo Accords.[75]

Awards for physics, chemistry, and medicine are typically awarded once the achievement has been widely accepted. Sometimes, this takes decades – for example, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar shared the 1983 Physics Prize for his 1930s work on stellar structure and evolution.[76][77] 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.[78][79][80]

Award ceremonies

Left: Barack Obama after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo City Hall from the hands of Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjørn Jagland in 2009; Right: Giovanni Jona-Lasinio presenting Yoichiro Nambu's Nobel Lecture at Aula Magna, Stockholm in 2008

Horbjorn Jagland presents President Barack Obama with the Nobel Prize medal and diploma
Giovanni Jona-Lasinio-Nobel Lecture-2

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.[81][82] The Prizes awarded in Sweden's ceremonies' are held at the Stockholm Concert Hall, with the Nobel banquet following immediately at Stockholm City Hall. The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony has been held at the Norwegian Nobel Institute (1905–1946), at the auditorium of the University of Oslo (1947–1989), and at Oslo City Hall (1990–present).[83]

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. In Oslo, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the King of Norway.[82][84] At first, King Oscar II 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.[85]

Nobel Banquet

Nobel-banquet-table
Table at the 2005 Nobel Banquet in Stockholm

After the award ceremony in Sweden, a banquet is held in the Blue Hall at the Stockholm City Hall, which is attended by the Swedish Royal Family and around 1,300 guests.

The Nobel Peace Prize 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 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.[86] The Nobel lecture as a rhetorical genre took decades to reach its current format.[87] These lectures normally occur during Nobel Week (the week leading up to the award ceremony and banquet, which begins with the laureates arriving in Stockholm and normally ends with the Nobel banquet), but this is not mandatory. The laureate is only obliged to give the lecture within six months of receiving the prize. Some have happened even later. For example, US President Theodore Roosevelt received the Peace Prize in 1906 but gave his lecture in 1910, after his term in office.[88] The lectures are organized by the same association which selected the laureates.[89]

Prizes

Medals

It was announced on 30 May 2012 that the Nobel Foundation had awarded the contract for the production of the five (Swedish) Nobel Prize medals to Svenska Medalj AB. Formerly, the Nobel Prize medals were minted by Myntverket (the Swedish Mint) from 1902 to 2010. Myntverket, Sweden's oldest company, 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.[90] Each medal features an image of Alfred Nobel in left profile on the obverse. 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.[91] 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.[92]

Nobel Prize Diploma Fritz Haber 1918
Laureates receive a heavily decorated diploma together with a gold medal and the prize money. Here Fritz Haber's diploma is shown, which he received for the development of a method to synthesise ammonia.

All medals made before 1980 were struck in 23 carat gold. Since then, they have been struck in 18 carat green gold plated with 24 carat gold. The weight of each medal varies with the value of gold, but averages about 175 grams (0.386 lb) for each medal. The diameter is 66 millimetres (2.6 in) and the thickness varies between 5.2 millimetres (0.20 in) and 2.4 millimetres (0.094 in).[93] Because of the high value of their gold content and tendency to be on public display, Nobel medals are subject to medal theft.[94][95][96] During World War II, the medals of German scientists Max von Laue and James Franck were sent to Copenhagen for safekeeping. When Germany invaded Denmark, Hungarian chemist (and Nobel laureate himself) George de Hevesy dissolved them in aqua regia (nitro-hydrochloric acid), to prevent confiscation by Nazi Germany and to prevent legal problems for the holders. After the war, the gold was recovered from solution, and the medals re-cast.[97]

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.[91] 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.[98][99]

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.[91] 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).[100][101] In June 2012, it was lowered to 8 million SEK.[102] If there are two laureates in a particular category, the award grant is divided equally between the recipients. If there are three, the awarding committee has the option of dividing the grant equally, or awarding one-half to one recipient and one-quarter to each of the others.[103][104][105] It is common for recipients to donate prize money to benefit scientific, cultural, or humanitarian causes.[106][107]

Controversies and criticisms

Controversial recipients

Henry A. Kissinger, U.S. Secretary of State, 1973-1977
When it was announced that Henry Kissinger was to be awarded the Peace Prize, two of the Norwegian Nobel Committee members resigned in protest.

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, especially for the Literature Prize.[108][109][110]

Peace Prize

Among the most criticised Nobel Peace Prizes was the one awarded to Henry Kissinger and Lê Đức Thọ. This led to the resignation of two Norwegian Nobel Committee members.[111] Kissinger and Thọ were awarded the prize for negotiating a ceasefire between North Vietnam and the United States in January 1973. However, when the award was announced, both sides were still engaging in hostilities.[112] 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. [57][113]

Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin received the Peace Prize in 1994 for their efforts in making peace between Israel and Palestine.[57][114] Immediately after the award was announced, one of the five Norwegian Nobel Committee members denounced Arafat as a terrorist and resigned.[115] Additional misgivings about Arafat were widely expressed in various newspapers.[116]

Another controversial Peace Prize was that awarded to Barack Obama in 2009.[117] Nominations had closed only eleven days after Obama took office as President of the United States, but the actual evaluation occurred over the next eight months.[118] Obama himself stated that he did not feel deserving of the award,[119] or worthy of the company it would place him in.[120] 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 and Al Gore, also prompted accusations of a left-wing bias.[121]

Literature Prize

The award of the 2004 Literature Prize to Elfriede Jelinek drew a protest from a member of the Swedish Academy, Knut Ahnlund. Ahnlund resigned, 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".[122][123] The 2009 Literature Prize to Herta Müller also generated criticism. According to The Washington Post, many US literary critics and professors were ignorant of her work.[124] This made those critics feel the prizes were too Eurocentric.[125]

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. Endorsed by such influential publications as The New England Journal of Medicine, 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.[126][127]

Overlooked achievements

Portrait Gandhi
The Norwegian Nobel Committee declined to award a prize in 1948, the year of Gandhi's death, on the grounds that "there was no suitable living candidate."

The Norwegian Nobel Committee confirmed that Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for the Peace Prize in 1937–39, 1947, and a few days before he was assassinated in January 1948.[128] Later, members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee expressed regret that he was not given the prize.[129] Geir Lundestad, Secretary of Norwegian Nobel Committee in 2006, said, "The greatest omission in our 106 year history is undoubtedly that Mahatma Gandhi never received the Nobel Peace prize. Gandhi could do without the Nobel Peace prize. Whether Nobel committee can do without Gandhi is the question".[130] In 1948, the year of Gandhi's death, the Nobel Committee declined to award a prize on the grounds that "there was no suitable living candidate" that year.[129][131] Later, when the 14th Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi".[132] Other high-profile individuals with widely recognised contributions to peace have been missed out. Foreign Policy lists Eleanor Roosevelt, Václav Havel, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sari Nusseibeh, and Corazon Aquino as people who "never won the prize, but should have".[133]

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. The rest of the committee all wanted the prize to go to U Thant, for his work in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis, 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.[134][135]

Revolutionary Joyce Better Contrast
James Joyce, one of the controversial omissions of the Literature Prize

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.[136][137] 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.[138] This tendency towards European authors still leaves some European writers on a list of notable writers that have been overlooked for the Literature Prize, including Europe's Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, J. R. R. Tolkien, Émile Zola, Marcel Proust, Vladimir Nabokov, James Joyce, August Strindberg, Simon Vestdijk, Karel Čapek, the New World's Jorge Luis Borges, Ezra Pound, John Updike, Arthur Miller, Mark Twain, and Africa's Chinua Achebe.[139]

Candidates can receive multiple nominations the same year. Gaston Ramon received a total of 155[140] nominations in physiology or medicine from 1930 to 1953, the last year with public nomination data for that award as of 2016. He died in 1963 without being awarded. Pierre Paul Émile Roux received 115[141] nominations in physiology or medicine, and Arnold Sommerfeld received 84[142] in physics. These are the three most nominated scientists without awards in the data published as of 2016.[143] Otto Stern received 79[144] nominations in physics 1925–43 before being awarded in 1943.[145]

The strict rule against awarding a prize to more than three people is also controversial.[146] 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 and John Fenn for the development of mass spectrometry 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.[147][148] 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, and Tom Kibble 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 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.[149]

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, 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 and Fritz Strassmann, who co-discovered nuclear fission along with Otto Hahn, may have been denied a share of Hahn's 1944 Nobel Chemistry Award due to having fled Germany when the Nazis came to power.[150] 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.

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".[151] 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 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.[152][153]

Gender disparity

In terms of the most prestigious awards in STEM 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.[154][155][156][157] Factors proposed to contribute to the discrepancy between this and the roughly equal human sex ratio 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 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 (Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously), and a tendency to omit women from jointly awarded Nobel Prizes.[158][159][160][161][162][163]

Specially distinguished laureates

Multiple laureates

Marie Curie 1903
Marie Curie, one of four people who have received the Nobel Prize twice (Physics and Chemistry)

Four people have received two Nobel Prizes. Marie Curie received the Physics Prize in 1903 for her work on radioactivity and the Chemistry Prize in 1911 for the isolation of pure radium,[164] making her the only person to be awarded a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. Linus Pauling was awarded the 1954 Chemistry Prize for his research into the chemical bond and its application to the structure 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 received the Physics Prize twice: in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and in 1972 for the theory of superconductivity.[165] Frederick Sanger received the prize twice in Chemistry: in 1958 for determining the structure of the insulin molecule and in 1980 for inventing a method of determining base sequences in DNA.[166][167]

Two organizations have received the Peace Prize multiple times. The International Committee of the Red Cross received it three times: in 1917 and 1944 for its work during the world wars; and in 1963 during the year of its centenary.[168][169][170] The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been awarded the Peace Prize twice for assisting refugees: in 1954 and 1981.[171]

Family laureates

The Curie family has received the most prizes, with four prizes awarded to five individual laureates. Marie Curie received the prizes in Physics (in 1903) and Chemistry (in 1911). Her husband, Pierre Curie, shared the 1903 Physics prize with her.[172] 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 Labouisse, was the director of UNICEF when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 on that organisation's behalf.[173]

Although no family matches the Curie family's record, there have been several with two laureates. The husband-and-wife team of Gerty Cori and Carl Ferdinand Cori shared the 1947 Prize in Physiology or Medicine[174] as did the husband-and-wife team of May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser in 2014 (along with John O'Keefe).[175] J. J. Thomson was awarded the Physics Prize in 1906 for showing that electrons are particles. His son, George Paget Thomson, received the same prize in 1937 for showing that they also have the properties of waves.[176] William Henry Bragg and his son, William Lawrence Bragg, shared the Physics Prize in 1915 for inventing the X-ray spectrometer.[177] Niels Bohr was awarded the Physics prize in 1922, as was his son, Aage Bohr, in 1975.[173][178] Manne Siegbahn, who received the Physics Prize in 1924, was the father of Kai Siegbahn, who received the Physics Prize in 1981.[173][179] 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.[173] C. V. Raman was awarded the Physics Prize in 1930 and was the uncle of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who was awarded the same prize in 1983.[180][181] Arthur Kornberg received the Physiology or Medicine Prize in 1959; Kornberg's son, Roger later received the Chemistry Prize in 2006.[182] Jan Tinbergen, who was awarded the first Economics Prize in 1969, was the brother of Nikolaas Tinbergen, who received the 1973 Physiology or Medicine Prize.[173] Alva Myrdal, Peace Prize laureate in 1982, was the wife of Gunnar Myrdal who was awarded the Economics Prize in 1974.[173] 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.[183]

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 and Nobel Son about fictional Nobel laureates as well as fictionalised accounts of stories surrounding real prizes such as Nobel Chor, a film based on the unsolved theft of Rabindranath Tagore's prize.[184][185]

Refusals and constraints

Richard Kuhn ETH-Bib Dia 248-065
Richard Kuhn, who was forced to decline his Nobel Prize in Chemistry

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."[186] 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.[187]

During the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler hindered Richard Kuhn, Adolf Butenandt, and Gerhard Domagk from accepting their prizes. All of them were awarded their diplomas and gold medals after World War II. In 1958, Boris Pasternak declined his prize for literature due to fear of what the Soviet Union government might do if he 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."[187] 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.[188][189] Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, but her children accepted the prize because she had been placed under house arrest in Burma; Suu Kyi delivered her speech two decades later, in 2012.[190] Liu Xiaobo 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.

Legacy

The memorial symbol "Planet of Alfred Nobel" was opened in Dnipropetrovsk University of Economics and Law in 2008. On the globe, there are 802 Nobel laureates' reliefs made of a composite alloy obtained when disposing of military strategic missiles.[191][192]

See also

References

Notes

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Sources

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Bell Labs

Nokia Bell Labs (formerly named AT&T Bell Laboratories and Bell Telephone Laboratories) is an industrial research and scientific development company owned by Finnish company Nokia. Its headquarters are located in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Other laboratories are located around the world (with some in the United States). Bell Labs has its origins in the complex past of the Bell System.

In the late 19th century, the laboratory began as the Western Electric Engineering Department and was located at 463 West Street in New York City. In 1925, after years of conducting research and development under Western Electric, the Engineering Department was reformed into Bell Telephone Laboratories and under the shared ownership of American Telephone & Telegraph Company and Western Electric.

Researchers working at Bell Labs are credited with the development of radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, the charge-coupled device (CCD), information theory, the Unix operating system, and the programming languages C, C++, and S. Nine Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.

C. V. Raman

Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman (; 7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970) was an Indian physicist born in the former Madras Province in India presently the state of Tamil Nadu, who carried out ground-breaking work in the field of light scattering, which earned him the 1930 Nobel Prize for Physics. He discovered that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light changes wavelength and amplitude. This phenomenon, subsequently known as Raman scattering, results from the Raman effect. In 1954, Indian government honoured him with India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

Ig Nobel Prize

The Ig Nobel Prize ( IG-noh-BEL) is a parody of the Nobel Prize awarded every autumn to celebrate ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. Since 1991, the Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded to "honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think." The name of the award is a pun on the word ignoble, which means "characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness", and is satirical social criticism that identifies "absurd" research, although, occasionally, such research has succeeded in yielding useful knowledge.Organized by the scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), the Ig Nobel Prizes are presented by Nobel laureates in a ceremony at the Sanders Theater, Harvard University, and are followed by the winners’ public lectures at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

List of Indian Nobel laureates

The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards bestowed on "those who conferred the greatest benefit on humankind" in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Peace and Economic Sciences, instituted by Alfred Nobel's last will, which specified that a part of his fortune be used to create the prizes. Each laureate (recipient) receives a gold medal, a diploma and a sum of money, which is decided annually by the Nobel Foundation. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; the Swedish Academy awards the Nobel Prize in Literature; and the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize. They are widely recognized as one of the most prestigious honours awarded in the aforementioned fields.First instituted in 1901, a total of 904 individuals (852 men and 52 women) and 24 organizations were awarded the Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2018. Among the total recipients, 12 are Indians (five Indian citizens and seven of Indian origin or residency). Rabindranath Tagore was the first Indian citizen to be awarded and Mother Teresa is the only woman among the list of recipients. Notably, Sri Aurobindo, the Indian poet, philosopher, nationalist and developer of integral yoga, was nominated unsuccessfully for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1943 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.On 1 December 1999, the Norwegian Nobel Committee confirmed that Mahatma Gandhi was nominated unsuccessfully for the Peace Prize five times (from 1937 to 1939, in 1947 and a few days before he was assassinated in January 1948). In 2006, Geir Lundestad, the Secretary of Norwegian Nobel Committee, cited it as "the greatest omission in our 106-year history".

List of Jewish Nobel laureates

Nobel Prizes have been awarded to over 900 individuals, of whom at least 20% were Jews, although the Jewish population comprises less than 0.2% of the world's population. Various theories have been made to explain this phenomenon, which has received considerable attention. Israeli academics Dr. Elay Ben-Gal and Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, curious about the phenomenon, started to form an encyclopedia of Jewish Nobel laureates and interview as many as possible about their life and work.Jews have been recipients of all six awards. The first Jewish recipient, Adolf von Baeyer, was awarded the prize in Chemistry in 1905. As of 2018, the most recent Jewish recipients were physics laureate Arthur Ashkin and economics laureate William Nordhaus.

Jewish laureates Elie Wiesel and Imre Kertész survived the extermination camps during the Holocaust, while François Englert survived by being hidden in orphanages and children's homes. Others, such as Walter Kohn, Otto Stern, Albert Einstein, Hans Krebs and Martin Karplus had to flee Nazi Germany to avoid persecution. Still others, including Rita Levi-Montalcini, Herbert Hauptman, Robert Furchgott, Arthur Kornberg, and Jerome Karle experienced significant antisemitism in their careers.The oldest person to receive a Nobel Prize is Arthur Ashkin, a 96-year-old American Jew.None of the four individuals who have so far been awarded two Nobel Prizes (John Bardeen, Marie Curie, Linus Pauling and Frederick Sanger) were Jewish.

List of Nobel laureates

The Nobel Prizes (Swedish: Nobelpriset, Norwegian: Nobelprisen) are prizes 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 outstanding contributions in the fields of chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine. They were established by the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel, which dictates that the awards should be administered by the Nobel Foundation. The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was established in 1968 by the Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden, for contributions to the field of economics. Each recipient, or "laureate", receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money, which is decided annually by the Nobel Foundation.

List of Nobel laureates in Chemistry

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry (Swedish: Nobelpriset i kemi) is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896. These prizes are awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine. As dictated by Nobel's will, the award is administered by the Nobel Foundation and awarded by a committee that consists of five members elected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The first Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded in 1901 to Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, of the Netherlands. Each recipient receives a medal, a diploma and a monetary award prize that has varied throughout the years. In 1901, van 't Hoff received 150,782 SEK, which is equal to 7,731,004 SEK in December 2007. The award is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death.At least 25 laureates have received the Nobel Prize for contributions in the field of organic chemistry, more than any other field of chemistry. Two Nobel Prize laureates in Chemistry, Germans Richard Kuhn (1938) and Adolf Butenandt (1939), were not allowed by their government to accept the prize. They would later receive a medal and diploma, but not the money. Frederick Sanger is one out of two laureates to be awarded the Nobel prize twice in the same subject, in 1958 and 1980. John Bardeen is the other and was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1956 and 1972. Two others have won Nobel Prizes twice, one in chemistry and one in another subject: Maria Skłodowska-Curie (physics in 1903, chemistry in 1911) and Linus Pauling (chemistry in 1954, peace in 1962). As of 2018, the prize has been awarded to 180 individuals, including five women: Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Irène Joliot-Curie (1935), Dorothy Hodgkin (1964), Ada Yonath (2009), and Frances Arnold (2018).There have been eight years in which the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was not awarded. There were also nine years for which the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was delayed for one year. The Prize was not awarded in 1914, as the Nobel Committee for Chemistry decided that none of that year's nominations met the necessary criteria, but was awarded to Theodore William Richards in 1915 and counted as the 1914 prize. This precedent was followed for the 1918 prize awarded to Fritz Haber in 1919,, the 1920 prize awarded to Walther Nernst in 1921, the 1921 prize awarded to Frederick Soddy in 1922,, the 1925 prize awarded to Richard Zsigmondy in 1926, the 1927 prize awarded to Heinrich Otto Wieland in 1928, the 1938 prize awarded to Richard Kuhn in 1939, the 1943 prize awarded to George de Hevesy in 1944, and the 1944 prize awarded to Otto Hahn in 1945.

List of Nobel laureates in Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature (Swedish: Nobelpriset i litteratur) is awarded annually by the Swedish Academy to authors for outstanding contributions in the field of literature. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel, which are awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine. As dictated by Nobel's will, the award is administered by the Nobel Foundation and awarded by a committee that consists of five members elected by the Swedish Academy. The first Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded in 1901 to Sully Prudhomme of France. Each recipient receives a medal, a diploma and a monetary award prize that has varied throughout the years. In 1901, Prudhomme received 150,782 SEK, which is equivalent to 8,823,637.78 SEK in January 2018. The award is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death.As of 2017, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to 114 individuals. When he received the award in 1958, Russian-born Boris Pasternak was forced to publicly reject the award under pressure from the government of the Soviet Union. In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre made known that he did not wish to accept the Nobel Prize in Literature, as he had consistently refused all official honors in the past. However the Nobel committee does not acknowledge refusals, and includes Pasternak and Sartre in its list of Nobel laureates.Fourteen women have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, more than any other Nobel Prize with the exception of the Nobel Peace Prize. There have been four instances in which the award was given to two people (1904, 1917, 1966, 1974). There have been eight years in which the Nobel Prize in Literature was not awarded (1914, 1918, 1935, 1940–1943, 2018). The country with the most recipients of the Nobel Prize in Literature is France with 16, followed by the United States with 12 and the United Kingdom with 11.

List of Nobel laureates in Physics

The Nobel Prize in Physics (Swedish: Nobelpriset i fysik) is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of physics. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel (who died in 1896), awarded for outstanding contributions in physics. As dictated by Nobel's will, the award is administered by the Nobel Foundation and awarded by a committee that consists of five members elected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The award is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death. Each recipient receives a medal, a diploma and a monetary award prize that has varied throughout the years.

List of Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (Swedish: Nobelpriset i fysiologi eller medicin) is awarded annually by the Swedish Karolinska Institute to scientists and doctors in the various fields of physiology or medicine. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel (who died in 1896), awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine. As dictated by Nobel's will, the award is administered by the Nobel Foundation and awarded by a committee that consists of five members and an executive secretary elected by the Karolinska Institute. While commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Medicine, Nobel specifically stated that the prize be awarded for "physiology or medicine" in his will. Because of this, the prize can be awarded in a broader range of fields. The first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded in 1901 to Emil Adolf von Behring, of Germany. Each recipient receives a medal, a diploma and a monetary award that has varied throughout the years. In 1901, von Behring received 150,782 SEK, which was equal to 7,731,004 SEK in December 2008. The award is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death.Laureates have won the Nobel Prize in a wide range of fields that relate to physiology or medicine. As of 2009, 8 Prizes have been awarded for contributions in the field of signal transduction by G proteins and second messengers, 13 have been awarded for contributions in the field of neurobiology and 13 have been awarded for contributions in intermediary metabolism. In 1939 Gerhard Domagk, a German, was not allowed by his government to accept the prize. He later received a medal and diploma, but not the money. As of 2018, the prize has been awarded to 216 individuals, twelve of them were women: Gerty Cori (1947), Rosalyn Yalow (1977), Barbara McClintock (1983), Rita Levi-Montalcini (1986), Gertrude B. Elion (1988), Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (1995), Linda B. Buck (2004), Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (2008), Elizabeth H. Blackburn (2009), Carol W. Greider (2009), May-Britt Moser (2014) and Tu Youyou (2015). There have been nine years in which the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was not awarded (1915–1918, 1921, 1925, 1940–1942).

List of female Nobel laureates

As of 2018, Nobel Prizes have been awarded to 853 men, 51 women (Marie Curie won it twice), and 24 unique organizations.The distribution of female Nobel Laureates is as follows:

seventeen women have won the Nobel Peace Prize,

fourteen have won the Nobel Prize in Literature,

twelve have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine,

five have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry,

three have won the Nobel Prize in Physics,

and one, Elinor Ostrom, has won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.The first woman to win a Nobel Prize was Marie Curie, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 with her husband, Pierre Curie, and Henri Becquerel. Curie is also the only woman to have won multiple Nobel Prizes; in 1911, she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Curie's daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935, making the two the only mother-daughter pair to have won Nobel Prizes.The most Nobel Prizes awarded to women in a single year was in 2009, when five women became laureates in four categories.

The most recent women to be awarded a Nobel Prize were Donna Strickland in Physics, Frances Arnold in Chemistry, and Nadia Murad for Peace (2018).

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Marie Curie

Marie Skłodowska Curie (; French: [kyʁi]; Polish: [kʲiˈri]; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. She was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

She was born in Warsaw, in what was then the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. She studied at Warsaw's clandestine Flying University and began her practical scientific training in Warsaw. In 1891, aged 24, she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and physicist Henri Becquerel. She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Her achievements included the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies into the treatment of neoplasms were conducted using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. During World War I she developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals.

While a French citizen, Marie Skłodowska Curie, who used both surnames, never lost her sense of Polish identity. She taught her daughters the Polish language and took them on visits to Poland. She named the first chemical element she discovered polonium, after her native country.Marie Curie died in 1934, aged 66, at a sanatorium in Sancellemoz (Haute-Savoie), France, of aplastic anemia from exposure to radiation in the course of her scientific research and in the course of her radiological work at field hospitals during World War I.

Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics, is an award for outstanding contributions to the field of economics, and generally regarded as the most prestigious award for that field. The award's official name is The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (Swedish: Sveriges riksbanks pris i ekonomisk vetenskap till Alfred Nobels minne).The prize was established in 1968 by a donation from Sweden's central bank the Riksbank to the Nobel Foundation to commemorate the bank's 300th anniversary. As it is not one of the prizes that Alfred Nobel established in his will in 1895, it is not a Nobel Prize. However, it is administered and referred to along with the Nobel Prizes by the Nobel Foundation. Laureates are announced with the Nobel Prize laureates, and receive the award at the same ceremony.Laureates in the Memorial Prize in Economics are selected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It was first awarded in 1969 to the Dutch and Norwegian economists Jan Tinbergen and Ragnar Frisch, "for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes".

Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize (Swedish, Norwegian: Nobels fredspris) is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. Since March 1901, it has been awarded annually (with some exceptions) to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".Per Alfred Nobel's will, the recipient is selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a five-member committee appointed by the Parliament of Norway. Since 1990, the prize is awarded on 10 December in Oslo City Hall each year. The prize was formerly awarded in the Atrium of the University of Oslo Faculty of Law (1947–1989), the Norwegian Nobel Institute (1905–1946), and the Parliament (1901–1904).

Due to its political nature, the Nobel Peace Prize has, for most of its history, been the subject of controversies.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry (Swedish: Nobelpriset i kemi) is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine. This award is administered by the Nobel Foundation, and awarded by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on proposal of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry which consists of five members elected by Academy. The award is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death.

The first Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded in 1901 to Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, of the Netherlands, "for his discovery of the laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure in solutions." From 1901 to 2018, the award has been bestowed on a total of 180 individuals.

Nobel Prize in Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature (Swedish: Nobelpriset i litteratur) is a Swedish literature prize that is awarded annually, since 1901, to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction" (original Swedish: "den som inom litteraturen har producerat det mest framstående verket i en idealisk riktning"). Though individual works are sometimes cited as being particularly noteworthy, the award is based on an author's body of work as a whole. The Swedish Academy decides who, if anyone, will receive the prize. The academy announces the name of the laureate in early October. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895. It was not awarded in 2018, but two names will be awarded in 2019.Although the Nobel Prize in Literature has become the world's most prestigious literature prize, the Swedish Academy has attracted significant criticism for its handling of the award. Many authors who have won the prize have fallen into obscurity, while others rejected by the jury remain widely studied and read. The prize has "become widely seen as a political one – a peace prize in literary disguise", whose judges are prejudiced against authors with different political tastes to them. Tim Parks has expressed skepticism that it is possible for "Swedish professors ... [to] compar[e] a poet from Indonesia, perhaps translated into English with a novelist from Cameroon, perhaps available only in French, and another who writes in Afrikaans but is published in German and Dutch...". As of 2016, 16 of the 113 recipients have been of Scandinavian origin. The Academy has often been alleged to be biased towards European, and in particular Swedish, authors. Some, such as Indian academic Sabaree Mitra, have noted that, though the Nobel Prize in Literature is significant and tends to overshadow other awards, it is "not the only benchmark of literary excellence."Nobel's "vague" wording for the criteria for the prize has led to recurrent controversy. In the original Swedish, the word idealisk translates as "ideal". The Nobel Committee's interpretation has varied over the years. In recent years, this means a kind of idealism championing human rights on a broad scale.

Nobel Prize in Physics

The Nobel Prize in Physics (Swedish: Nobelpriset i fysik) is a yearly award given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for those who have made the most outstanding contributions for humankind in the field of physics. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others being the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

The first Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to physicist Wilhelm Röntgen in recognition of the extraordinary services he rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays (or x-rays). This award is administered by the Nobel Foundation and widely regarded as the most prestigious award that a scientist can receive in physics. It is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death. Through 2018, a total of 209 individuals have been awarded the prize.Only three women (1.4% of laureates) have won the Nobel Prize in Physics: Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963, and Donna Strickland in 2018.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (Swedish: Nobelpriset i fysiologi eller medicin), administered by the Nobel Foundation, is awarded yearly for outstanding discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine. It is one of five Nobel Prizes established in his will in 1895 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Nobel was interested in experimental physiology and wanted to establish a prize for scientific progress through laboratory discoveries. The Nobel Prize is presented at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death, along with a diploma and a certificate for the monetary award. The front side of the medal displays the same profile of Alfred Nobel depicted on the medals for Physics, Chemistry, and Literature. The reverse side is unique to this medal. The most recent Nobel prize was announced by Karolinska Institute on 1 October 2018, and has been awarded to American James P. Allison and Japanese Tasuku Honjo – for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.As of 2015, 106 Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been awarded to 198 men and 12 women. The first one was awarded in 1901 to the German physiologist Emil von Behring, for his work on serum therapy and the development of a vaccine against diphtheria. The first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Gerty Cori, received it in 1947 for her role in elucidating the metabolism of glucose, important in many aspects of medicine, including treatment of diabetes.

Some awards have been controversial. This includes one to António Egas Moniz in 1949 for the prefrontal lobotomy, bestowed despite protests from the medical establishment. Other controversies resulted from disagreements over who was included in the award. The 1952 prize to Selman Waksman was litigated in court, and half the patent rights awarded to his co-discoverer Albert Schatz who was not recognized by the prize. The 1962 prize awarded to James D. Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins for their work on DNA structure and properties did not acknowledge the contributing work from others, such as Oswald Avery and Rosalind Franklin who had died by the time of the nomination. Since the Nobel Prize rules forbid nominations of the deceased, longevity is an asset, considering prizes are awarded as long as 50 years after the discovery. Also forbidden is awarding any one prize to more than three recipients. In the last half century there has been an increasing tendency for scientists to work as teams, resulting in controversial exclusions.

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