The beginning of October means Nobel Prize season. Six days, six awards, new faces from around the world are added to the world’s elite list of scientists, writers, economists and human rights leaders.
This year’s Nobel season kicks off on Monday with the Medicine Prize, followed by daily announcements: Physics on Tuesday, Chemistry on Wednesday, and Literature on Thursday. The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and the Economics Prize on October 10.
Here are five more things to know about coveted prizes:
Who created the Nobel Prizes?
Prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace were created by the will of Alfred Nobel, a wealthy Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite. The first prizes were handed out in 1901, five years after Nobel’s death.
Each award is worth 10 million kronor (roughly $900,000) and will be awarded with a certificate and gold medal on December 10 – the date of Nobel’s death in 1896.
This year’s Nobel season approaches as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shatters decades of nearly lasting peace in Europe and raises the risks of nuclear catastrophe. 9 image file)
The Economics Prize – officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel – was not created by Nobel, but by the Swedish Central Bank in 1968.
Between 1901 and 2021, the Nobel Prizes and the Economic Sciences Prize have been awarded 609 times.
Who knows who will win and why?
The Nobel Laws prohibit judges from discussing their deliberations for 50 years. So it will likely be a while before we know for sure how the referees made their selections for 2022 and who was on their shortlists.
The judges try hard to avoid dropping hints about the winners before the announcements, but sometimes the word gets out. Bookmakers in Europe sometimes offer potential Peace Prize odds and Nobel Prize winners in literature.
Who can nominate a candidate?
Thousands of people around the world are eligible to submit nominations for Nobel Prizes.
They include university professors, lawmakers, former Nobel laureates, and members of the committee themselves.
Although the nominations are kept secret for 50 years, those who submit them sometimes announce their proposals publicly, especially for the Nobel Peace Prize.
How about the Norwegian connection?
The Nobel Peace Prize is presented in Norway, while the other prizes are awarded in Sweden. This is how Alfred Nobel wanted it.
Its exact reasons are unclear but during his lifetime Sweden and Norway joined in a union that was dissolved in 1905. Relations were at times strained between the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, which administers the prize money, and the fiercely independent Peace Prize Committee in Oslo.
A bust of the founder of the Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel is displayed in the Concert Hall during the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony in Stockholm. (Photo: AP)
What does it take to win a Nobel Prize?
Scientists often have to wait decades for their work to be recognized by the Nobel judges, who want to make sure that any breakthrough stands the test of time.
This is a departure from Nobel’s will, which states that prizes should be awarded “those who, during the preceding year, would have provided the greatest benefit to mankind.” The Peace Prize Committee is the only one that regularly rewards achievements in the previous year.
According to Nobel’s wishes, this prize should be awarded to “the one who ought to do the most or best work of fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the establishment and consolidation of peace conferences.”