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HomeKnowGKThe Nobel Prize - Everything you wanted to know

The Nobel Prize – Everything you wanted to know

The Birth of the Nobel Prize :

On a fine morning in 1888, Alfred Nobel opened his regular newspaper to read some fresh news where he was taken by surprise to read his obituary titled “The Merchant of death is dead”. This made him think and created apprehension about how he would be remembered after his death. This incident inspired him to create a will that no one in those times could ever think of.

On 10th, December 1896 at the age of 63 when Alfred Nobel died of cerebral hemorrhage in his villa in San Remo, Italy his will be specified that his fortune be used to create a series of awards for those who create a revolution in the fields of physics, chemistry, literature, medicine and peace. His total assets approximately one hundred eighty-six million US dollars  (USD 186 M) was surrounded by a lot of skepticism. It was not until April 1897 that it was approved by Storting-Parliament of Norway. A Nobel Foundation was formed to take care of Nobel’s fortune and organize the awards.

Read Also: Nobel Prizes Facts

Committee that gives The Nobel Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee was formed to award the Nobel Peace Prize and later the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was formed to award prizes in other categories.

Early recipients of The Nobel Prize

The first Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Wilhelm Rontgen’s discovery of X-Rays. Jacobus Van’t Hoff received his first Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contribution in chemical thermodynamics. Sully Prodhomme received the first Nobel Prize in Literature over Leo Tolstoy, a poet you know from your English poetry books. The first Nobel Prize is medicine or physiology went to German physiologist and microbiologist Emil Von Behring. He had invented an antitoxin to treat diphtheria which was a fatal disease.

Process for selection of Nobel Prize Winners

The process for finalizing the Nobel Prize is similar in all categories. The only thing highlighting is the way the recommendations are made. The Committee sends out the nomination forms to some 3000 odd individuals, who are prominent academicians working in significant areas. Inquiries are sent out to governments of various countries for the Nobel Peace Prize. The deadline for return of nominations is set, the same year the awards will be announced. The Noble Committee then nominates 300 Nobel Laureates from these forms. These 300 names and other nominations are confidential. The committee prepares a report after taking advice from experts from significant fields. This report along with the nominated candidates is then sent to the prize-awarding institutions who chose the laureate or laureates in each field based on votes. The decision, which cannot be appealed, is immediately announced.

A maximum or three or two different works may be selected per award, except for the Peace prize. If the Peace prize is not awarded the money is divided among the scientific awards.

nobel prize award

Must Read: Nobel Prize for Physics

What does an awardee gets as Nobel Prize (other than the honour)

The Nobel Prize comprises of a medal, a diploma and award money. The Nobel Prize medals are patented trademark of the Nobel Foundation. Each medal features a picture of Alfred Nobel on the obverse with years of his birth and death. The designs of Alfred Nobel’s picture on the peace and economics prizes are slightly different. Each medal weighs up to 175 grams made of 18 carats green gold, plated with 24 carat gold. Each diploma is exclusively made by the prize-awarding institutions for the laureates. The diploma contains a script in Swedish which states the name of the laureate and an excerpt of why they deserve the prize. The award money on the other hand, depends on how much the foundation can award for that particular year.

The Nobel Prize is one of the most prestigious awards known to mankind. It was noted that as on 2012, each prize was worth eight million. The prize is not awarded posthumously. But in case, of death of the Nobel Laureate after the award has been announced but before him receiving, it is awarded.

Winners of Nobel Prize for 2015 (and also 2014)


The Nobel Prize for Physics for the year 2014 was presented to, Hiroshi Amano, Isamu Akasaki and Shuji Nakamura for origination of competent blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light. The same was presented to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald in 2015 for neutrino oscillations.


The Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2014 was presented to William E. Moerner, Eric Betzig and Stefan W. Hell for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy and the same was awarded to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for mechanistic studies of DNA repair in 2015.


The Noble Prize for physiology and medicine in 2014 was awarded to John O’Keffe, Edvard I.Moser and May-Britt Moser for their findings of cells that constitute the positioning system in the brain. The same award in the year 2015 was awarded to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Omura for their therapies against infections caused by roundworm parasite and Youyou Tu for her therapy against Malaria.

Have a look at: Patrick Modiano Wins Nobel Prize in Literature


The Noble Prize for literature in 2014 was awarded to Patrick Madiano for the skill of recollection with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation. The same award was in literature in the year 2015 was given to Svetlana Alexievich for her polyphonic writings.


The Nobel Peace prize in 2014 and 2015 was presented to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their struggle against the dominance of children and youth, and National Dialogue Quartet and for its contribution for building a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia during Jasmine Revolution.


The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2014 was awarded to Jean Tirole for his analysis of market power and regulation, and the same was awarded to Angus Deaton for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare in 2015.


Also, Read:

Nobel Literature Winners Since 1980

Nobel Prize Winners of 2013 & 2014

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