What have you done to benefit humankind? That’s the question Nobel Prize selection committees ask when selecting the recipients of each year’s Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry, literature, peace, and economic sciences. This year’s winners (with the exception of the Nobel Prize in Literature) have been announced, and twelve additional people can now call themselves Nobel Laureates, or Nobel Prize winners. Check out who these Nobel Laureates are and why they won here. To celebrate these winners, we’re sharing a few neat facts about the prize itself:
When and how was the Nobel Prize established?
Ever heard of the saying, “If there’s a will, there’s a way”? Well, in this case, there was literally a will! Alfred Nobel, a scientist most known for inventing dynamite, wrote in his will that most of his fortune should go toward awarding people who have dedicated their life’s work for the benefit of humankind. Even though Alfred Nobel died on December 10th, 1896, it took four years to convince everyone who was involved in Mr. Nobel’s will that it was indeed his desire to give away his fortune. The first prize wasn’t awarded until December 10th, 1901, exactly five years after his death.
Who gets to pick the nominees?
Every year, thousands of people such as past Nobel Laureates, scientists, and professors are asked to submit nominees for the Nobel Prize for the following year. Nominees can come from anywhere in the world, but no one can nominate themselves. Two other interesting facts about the nomination process? The nomination process begins in September, and the names of the nominees aren’t revealed until fifty years later. Yep, so if you were nominated for a Nobel Prize (and didn’t win one that year—bummer!), you wouldn’t know that you were nominated until fifty years later!
What do Nobel Prize winners get?
In addition to bragging rights (we’re kidding, of course!), Nobel Laureates also receive an 18-karat gold medal and eight million Swedish krona, or approximately $1 million. Every year, all of the Nobel Prizes are presented to the winners in Stockholm, Sweden, except for the Nobel Peace Prize—that prize is presented in Oslo, Norway.
Who would you nominate for a Nobel Prize?