Nobel Prizes, annual monetary awards granted to individuals or institutions
for outstanding contributions in the fields of physics, chemistry,
physiology or medicine, literature, international peace, and economic
sciences. The Nobel prizes are internationally recognized as the most
prestigious awards in each of these fields. The prizes were established by
Swedish inventor and industrialist Alfred Bernhard Nobel, who set up a fund
for them in his will. The first Nobel prizes were awarded on December 10,
1901, the fifth anniversary of Nobels death.

In his will, Nobel directed that most of his fortune be invested to form a
fund, the interest of which was to be distributed annually "in the form of
prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the
greatest benefit on mankind." He stipulated that the interest be divided
into five equal parts, each to be awarded to the person who made the most
important contribution in one of five different fields. In addition to the
three scientific awards and the literature award, a prize would go to the
person who had done "the most or the best work for fraternity among
nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the
holding and promotion of peace congresses." Nobel also specified certain
institutions that would select the prizewinners. The will indicated that
no consideration whatever shall be given to the nationality of the
candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize.

Alfred Nobel

After his own experiments led him to the lucrative invention of dynamite,
Alfred Nobel established a fund to reward other innovators contributing
most materially to the benefit of mankind. The Nobel Prizes are awarded in
the fields of chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, literature,
international peace, and economic sciences. The awards reflect Nobels
interests; in addition to performing valuable chemical research, he spoke
several languages, traveled widely, and wrote poetry.

In 1968 the Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden, created an economics
prize to commemorate the bank's 300th anniversary. This prize, called the
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, was first awarded in 1969. The
bank provides a cash award equal to the other Nobel prizes.


In 1900 the Nobel Foundation was established to manage the fund and to
administer the activities of the institutions charged with selecting
winners. The fund is controlled by a board of directors, which serves for
two-year periods and consists of six members: five elected by the trustees
of the awarding bodies mentioned in the will, and the sixth appointed by
the Swedish government. All six members are either Swedish or Norwegian

In his will, Nobel stated that the prizes for physics and chemistry would
be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences, the prize for physiology or
medicine by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the literature prize by
the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, and the peace prize by a five-person
committee elected by the Norwegian Storting (Parliament). After the
economics prize was created in 1968, the Swedish Academy of Sciences has
held the responsibility of selecting the winners of that award.

All the prize-awarding bodies have set up Nobel committees consisting of
three to five people who make recommendations in the selection process.
Additional specialists with expertise in relevant fields assist the
committees. The Nobel committees examine nominations and make
recommendations to the prize-awarding institutions. After deliberating
various opinions and recommendations, the prize-awarding bodies vote on the
final selection, and then they announce the winner. The deliberations and
voting are secret, and prize decisions cannot be appealed.

      III   PRIZES  

A prize for achievement in a particular field may be awarded to an
individual, divided equally between two people, or awarded jointly among
two or three people. According to the Nobel Foundations statutes, the
prize cannot be divided among more than three people, but it can go to an
institution. A prize may go unawarded if no candidate is chosen for the
year under consideration, but each of the prizes must be awarded at least
once every five years. If the Nobel Foundation does not award a prize in a
given year, the prize money remains in the trust. Likewise, if a prize is
declined or not accepted before a specified date, the Nobel Foundation
retains the prize money in its trust.

The prize amounts are based on the annual yield of the fund capital. In
1948 Nobel prizes were about $32,000 each; in 1997 they were about $1
million each. In addition to a cash award, each prizewinner also receives a
gold medal and a diploma bearing the winner's name and field of
achievement. Prizewinners are known as Nobel laureates.


Nominations of candidates for the prizes can be made only by those who have
received invitations to do so. In the fall of the year preceding the award,
Nobel committees distribute invitations to members of the prize-awarding
bodies, to previous Nobel prize winners, and to professors in relevant
fields at certain colleges and universities. In addition, candidates for
the prize in literature may be proposed by invited members of various
literary academies, institutions, and societies. Upon invitation, members
of governments or certain international organizations may nominate
candidates for the peace prize. The Nobel Foundations statutes do not
allow individuals to nominate themselves. Invitations to nominate
candidates and the nominations themselves are both confidential.

Nominations of candidates are due on February 1 of the award year. Then,
Nobel committee members and consultants meet several times to evaluate the
qualifications of the nominees. The various committees cast their final
votes in October and immediately notify the laureates that they have won.


The prizes are presented annually at ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden, and
in Oslo, Norway, on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death. In
Stockholm, the king of Sweden presents the awards in physics, chemistry,
physiology or medicine, literature, and economic sciences. The peace prize
ceremony takes place at the University of Oslo in the presence of the king
of Norway. After the ceremonies, Nobel Prize winners give a lecture on a
subject connected with their prize-winning work. The winner of the peace
prize lectures in Oslo, the others in Stockholm. The lectures are later
printed in the Nobel Foundation's annual publication, Les Prix Nobel (The
Nobel Prizes)

Some of the recipients

Recipent of the Nobel prize for chemistry

  Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and also the first
  person to win the Nobel Prize twice. Curie coined the term radioactive
  to describe the uranium emissions she observed in early experiments. With
  her husband, she later discovered the elements polonium and radium. A
  dedicated and respected physicist, her brilliant work with radioactivity
  eventually cost her her life; she died from overexposure to radiation.

Recipient  of the Nobel Prize for economics

  Hayek, Friedrich August von (1899-1992), Austrian-born economist and Nobel
  laureate. Born in Vienna, von Hayek earned a doctorate at Vienna
  University in 1927 and spent some years in public service. He began a long
  academic career by holding the post of professor of economics and
  statistics at the University of London (1931-50); subsequently he was
  professor of moral and economic science at the University of Chicago (1950-
  62). An economic traditionalist, von Hayek won a wide reputation with The
  Road to Serfdom (1944), in which he argued that governments should not
  intervene in the control of inflation or other economic matters. He
  retired in 1962 but was later appointed professor of economics at the
  University of Freiburg, in West Germany (now part of Germany). Returning
  to Austria in 1969, he became visiting professor at the University of
  Salzburg. In 1974 he and the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal received the
  Nobel Prize in economic science for their pioneering work in the theory
  of money and economic luctuations and for their pioneering analysis of the
  interdependence of economic, social, and institutional phenomena.

The Recipient  of the Nobel Prize for literature

  Galsworthy, John (1867-1933), English novelist and playwright, who was one
  of the most popular English novelists and dramatists of the early 20th
  century. He was born in Kingston Hills, Surrey, and educated at Harrow
  School and the University of Oxford. He was admitted to the bar in 1890
  but soon abandoned law for writing. Galsworthy wrote his early works under
  the pen name John Sinjohn. His fiction is concerned principally with
  English upper middle-class life; his dramas frequently find their themes
  in this stratum of society, but also often deal, sympathetically, with the
  economically and socially oppressed and with questions of social justice.
  Most of his novels deal with the history, from Victorian times through the
  first quarter of the 20th century, of an upper middle-class English
  family, the Forsytes. The principal member of the family is Soames
  Forsyte, who exemplifies the drive of his class for the accumulation of
  material wealth, a drive that often conflicts with human values. The
  Forsyte series includes The Man of Property (1906), the novelette Indian
  Summer of a Forsyte (pub. in the collection Five Tales,1918), In Chancery
  (1920), Awakening  (1920), and To Let (1921). These five titles were
  published as The Forsyte Saga (1922). The Forsyte story was continued by
  Galsworthy in The White Monkey (1924), The Silver Spoon (1926), and Swan
  Song (1928), which were published together under the title A Modern Comedy
  (1929). These were followed in turn by Maid in Waiting (1931), Flowering
  Wilderness (1932), and Over the River (1933), published together
  posthumously as End of the Chapter (1934). Among the plays by Galsworthy
  are Strife (1909), Justice  (1910), The Pigeon (1912), Old English (1924),
  and The Roof (1929). Galsworthy was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in

The Recipient  of the Nobel Prize for physics

  Landau, Lev Davidovich (1908-68), Soviet theoretical physicist and Nobel
  laureate, noted chiefly for his pioneer work in low-temperature physics
  (cryogenics). He was born in Baku, and educated at the universities of
  Baku and Leningrad. In 1937  Landau became professor of theoretical
  physics at the S. I. Vavilov Institute of Physical Problems in Moscow. His
  development of the mathematical theories that explain how superfluid
  helium behaves at temperatures near absolute zero earned him the 1962
  Nobel Prize in physics. His writings on a wide variety of subjects
  relating to physical phenomena include some 100 papers and many books,
  among which is the widely known nine-volume Course of Theoretical Physics,
  published in 1943  with Y. M. Lifshitz. In January 1962, he was gravely
  injured in an automobile accident; he was several times considered near
  death and suffered a severe impairment of memory. By the time of his death
  he had been able to make only a partial recovery.

The recipient  of the Nobel Prize for peace

  Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and formerly the ruler of
  Tibet. The Dalai Lama is believed to be a reincarnation of the Buddha.
  When he dies, his soul is thought to enter the body of a newborn boy, who,
  after being identified by traditional tests, becomes the new Dalai Lama.

   The first to bear the title of Dalai Lama was Sonam Gyatso, grand lama of
  the Drepung monastery and leader of the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect, who
  received it in 1578 from the Mongol chief Altan Khan; it was then applied
  retroactively to the previous leaders of the sect. In 1642 another Mongol
  chief, Gushri Khan, installed the fifth Dalai Lama as Tibet's spiritual
  and temporal ruler. His successors governed Tibetfirst as tributaries of
  the Mongols, but from 1720 to 1911 as vassals of the emperor of China.

   When the Chinese Communists occupied Tibet in 1950, they came into
  increasing conflict with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. He left the
  country after an unsuccessful rebellion in 1959 and thereafter lived in
  India. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for leading the
  nonviolent opposition to continued Chinese rule in Tibet. In 1995 the
  Dalai Lama came into conflict with Chinese authorities over the
  identification of a new Panchen Lama (the second most senior Tibetan
  religious authority). In 1996 he published Violence and Compassion, in
  which he and French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrire consider topics of
  political and spiritual interest.

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