The Nobel Prize

Announced in the 1st week of October and awarded on the 10 December annually by the Scandinavian government, the Nobel Prizes, are the most prestigious awards bestowed upon people, who bring about a change to the international fraternity due to the work in their respective fields. Nobel laureates from their respective fields areĀ  held in high esteem by their peers. Also, most people across the world are aware of the fact that earning a Nobel recognition does not come easy.

The Advent of the Nobel Prize: Nobel Prizes started due to the final will of Sir Alfred Nobel. According to the will, Sir Alfred wanted the vast sums of money he gathered during his lifetime to be invested into a trust that would give away awards to ideal achievers in the fields of Literature, Physics, Peace, Physiology or Medicine and Chemistry.

Sir Alfred Nobel was the inventor of the Dynamite (his famous invention), Ballistine and the Gelignite was severely criticized for his inventions that were being used for mass massacre of humans. When Sir Alfred Nobel’s brother passed away, a French newspaper mistook it for Sir Alfred’s death and published his obituary. The obituary read, “the rich Nobel who devised new ideas to kill people and made a fortune out of it has died”. This disheartened Sir Alfred as he didn’t want to be remembered as such.

Thus, the Nobel Prizes were established and the first Prize was awarded in the year 1901. The winners are awarded a medal, a diploma and a sum of 10 million Swedish Crona equivalent to 1.4 million USD. These prestigious awards are conferred by His Majesty, the king of Sweden.

The Order of the Prizes: The first of the three Prizes that were initiated were to be awarded in the fields of Physics, Chemistry and Medicine and Psychology. The fourth Prize was for work in Literature and the fifth and the last for Peace. Unfortunately, Mathematics was not included into this list. (there exists the Abel Prize announced by the Norwegian government for outstanding work in Mathematics).

The Economic Sciences Prize: The Sveriges Riksbank that gives away the Prize amount to Nobel laureates helped introduce the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in the year 1968, to mark the bank’s 300th anniversary. Jan Tinbergen and Ragnar Frisch were awarded the first Nobel prizes in Economic Sciences in the year 1969. Technically this Prize is not the considered a Nobel Prize, the winners are announced along with the Nobel Prize winners.

The First Nobel Prizes: The first Physics Prize was given away to Sir W.K.Roentgen for the invention of X-Rays. The award for outstanding work in Chemistry went to Jacobus van’t Hoff for his contribution to chemical thermodynamics. Emil von Behring won the inaugural award for Medicine and Physiology for the invention of an antitoxin that could cure diphtheria. Sully Prudhomme was awarded the first Nobel Literature Prize for his work on Victorian literature. Incidentally, the Peace Prize was given away to two people, Frederic Passy (co-founder of the International Parliamentary Union) and Henry Dunant (founder of the Red Cross Society).

During the WWII: The awarding of the Prizes was quiet irregular during the Great War. The German occupation of Norway during the war was the reason for no awards being announced between the years ’40-’42. In the year 1939 (the year the WWII began), all the other Prizes except the peace Prize were announced.

Some of the most famous Nobel Prize laureates are Mother Teressa, Barack Obama, Sir Albert Einstein, etc. Posthumous prizes were also awarded on two occasions in the years ’31 and ’61. But, later in the year ’74, it was made mandatory that the awards be given away to only to alive individuals. Also, no more categories would be further included into the Prize list.

The Nobel Prizes are not only given away for recent discoveries, but are also given to researchers, persons and organizations which withstand the tests of time.

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