Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize

Set of annual international awards, established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

In his will, Alfred Nobel established five prizes:

In 1968, the Sveriges Riksbank established a prize for Economics in the memory of Alfred Nobel. That award (like the others) is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, according to the same principles as the other Nobel Prizes.


On November 27, 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his third and last will at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris. When it was opened and read after his death, the will caused a lot of controversy both in Sweden and internationally, as Nobel had left much of his wealth for the establishment of a prize. His family opposed the establishment of the Nobel Prize, and the prize awarders he named refused to do what he had requested in his will. It was five years before the first Nobel Prize could be awarded in 1901.

In this excerpt of the will, Alfred Nobel dictates that his entire remaining estate should be used to endow "prizes to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind"

"All of my remaining realisable assets are to be disbursed as follows: the capital, converted to safe securities by my executors, is to constitute a fund, the interest on which is to be distributed annually as prizes to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.

The interest is to be divided into five equal parts and distributed as follows:

one part to the person who made the most important discovery or invention in the field of physics;

one part to the person who made the most important chemical discovery or improvement;

one part to the person who made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine;

one part to the person who, in the field of literature, produced the most outstanding work in an idealistic direction;

and one part to the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses.

The prizes for physics and chemistry are to be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences;

that for physiological or medical achievements by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm;

that for literature by the Academy in Stockholm;

and that for champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be selected by the Norwegian Storting.

It is my express wish that when awarding the prizes, no consideration be given to nationality, but that the prize be awarded to the worthiest person, whether or not they are Scandinavian."




Further reading


Documentaries, videos and podcasts





Steve Mirsky
May 19, 2020
Scientific American
A weekly exploration of the latest developments in science and technology.
Jennifer Marquez
March 3, 2020
Having one Nobel Prize winner in the family is a huge accomplishment. But the Curie family had four winners - and one was even awarded twice. How did they get so smart?
Hazel Shearing
February 6, 2020
BBC News
The government is being told to act over a "lack of visible role models for girls" in science. Here's a whole array they could use.
Dennis Overbye
January 14, 2020
The astronomer missed her Nobel Prize. But she now has a whole new observatory to her name.
Abraham Loeb
January 1, 2020
Scientific American Blog Network
Theoretical models can be complex--but the most successful ones are usually not
Abraham Loeb
December 18, 2019
Scientific American Blog Network
It's unfortunate that some of the most exciting frontiers in modern astrophysics were initially ridiculed as a waste of time
Uttaran Das Gupta
December 13, 2019
Read more about Dhoti chic on Business Standard. In popular culture, the bhadralok usually wears a dhoti
December 10, 2019
The Times of India
India News: Clad in a bandhgala punjabi and a dhoti, Abhijit Banerjee, along with his wife Esther Duflo and colleague Michael Kremmer, received the Nobel Prize fo
Tyler Sonnemaker
December 9, 2019
Business Insider
Frances Arnold, recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will be one of three woman on the company's board.
Reuters Editorial
December 9, 2019
Google parent Alphabet Inc on Monday named Noble Prize winner Frances Arnold to its board, filling a vacancy left by the retirement of fellow academic Shirley Tilghman.
Una Hajdari
December 9, 2019
The Telegraph
Protesters from the Balkans and worldwide are expected to descend on Stockholm today as the Nobel Prize for Literature is handed to an Austrian author accused of supporting the genocidal Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic.
Pranab Bardhan
November 12, 2019
Read more about Development economics after the Nobel Prize on Business Standard. In a world of crushing inequality and aggregate demand stagnation, the new laureates bring some cheer in showing us that incremental changes pursued steadfastly can add up to a lot
November 11, 2019
, , , , • In the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron, Thales is greatly honored to sign a strategic Cooperation Agreement with Peking University and École Polytechnique for future cooperation on scientific research , , • This agreement aims to fully integrate international teams and strengths, promote trilateral R&D and joint facility collaborations in areas such as high energy, high density and laser physics. , , • These ambitious projects are linked t...
Business Standard
October 21, 2019
Read more about Letter to BS: Deliberate attempts to insult Abhijit Banerjee are ridiculous on Business Standard. It is the team which has got the Nobel Prize, not only Banerjee.
Invalid Date
The chief minister, speaking after a cabinet meeting, referred to Abhijit Banerjee as Abhishek babu.
October 15, 2019
Mashable India
Mashable is a global, multi-platform media and entertainment company.
Press Trust of India
October 14, 2019
Read more about Abhijit Banerjee joins Tagore, Raman in India's club of Nobel Prize winners on Business Standard. Born in Mumbai, the 58-year-old economist is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the US-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stuart Anderson
October 14, 2019
Immigrants have been awarded nearly 40% of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in Chemistry, Medicine and Physics since 2000.
Invalid Date
The Wire
From pleasing patrons to realising the need for the progress of mankind, the Nobel Prize has come a long way to being formalised today.
October 12, 2019
The Indian Express
The Nobel Prize for physics was announced on October 8 where Mayor jointly shares half of the prize with Didier Quelzo while the other half was awarded to James Peebles.


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