COPENHAGEN – The beginning of October is Nobel Prize season. Six days, six awards, new faces from around the world added to the world’s most elite roster of scientists, writers, economists and human rights leaders.
This year’s Nobel season begins 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 other things you should know about the coveted prizes:
WHO CREATED THE NOBEL PRIZES?
The awards in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace were donated by the will of Alfred Nobel, a wealthy Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite. The first awards were presented in 1901, five years after Nobel’s death.
Each award is worth 10 million kroner (nearly US$900,000) and will be presented with a diploma and gold medal on December 10 – the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.
The economic prize – officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel – was not created by Nobel in 1968, but by the Swedish central bank.
Between 1901 and 2021, the Nobel Prize and the Prize in Economics were awarded 609 times.
WHO KNOWS WHO WILL WIN AND WHY?
The Nobel Statutes ban judges from discussing their deliberations for 50 years. So it will likely be a while before we know for sure how the judges made their 2022 selections and who made their shortlists.
The judges try very hard to avoid hinting at the winners before the announcement, but sometimes word gets around. Bookmakers in Europe sometimes offer odds on potential Peace Prize and Literature Prize winners.
WHO CAN NOMINATE A CANDIDATE?
Thousands of people around the world are eligible to submit nominations for the Nobel Prizes.
These include university professors, legislators, past Nobel laureates, and the members of the committee themselves.
Although nominations are kept secret for 50 years, those who submit them sometimes make their nominations public, particularly for the Nobel Peace Prize.
WHAT ABOUT THE NORWEGIAN CONNECTION?
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Norway while the other awards are presented in Sweden. That’s what Alfred Nobel wanted.
His exact reasons are unclear, but during his lifetime Sweden and Norway were united in a union that was dissolved in 1905. Relations were strained at times between the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, which administers the prize money, and the strictly independent Peace Prize Committee in Oslo.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN A NOBEL?
Patience, for one.
Scientists often have to wait decades before their work is recognized by Nobel Prize judges, who want to ensure that every breakthrough stands the test of time.
This is a departure from Nobel’s will, which states that the awards “should be given to those who have brought the greatest benefit to mankind in the preceding year.” The Peace Prize Committee is the only one that regularly honors achievements of the previous year.
According to Nobel’s wishes, this prize should go to “the person who has done the most or best work for brotherhood among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.
Follow all AP stories about the Nobel Peace Prize at https://apnews.com/hub/nobel-prizes
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