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 Nobel Prize 

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The Nobel Prize is one of the most prestigious awards which recognized the people who have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind according to Alfred Bernhard Nobel’s 1895 will. The Nobel prize was started in 1901 and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, started in 1969.

Who is Alfred Bernhard Nobel? And His Notable Work?

Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm, Sweden in the year 1833. He was a famous chemist, engineer, inventor, scientist, businessman, philanthropist, and founder of the Nobel Prizes. His father was Immanuel Nobel and his mother was Andriette Ahlsell Nobel. He died in 1896.

Invention of Dynamite

In 1866, Alfred found that mixing nitroglycerine with a fine sand called kieselguhr , would turn the liquid into paste which could be shaped into rods. He named it “dynamite.” He also invented a detonator or blasting cap which could be set off by lighting a fuse. Together, these inventions helped reduce the cost of many construction work like drilling tunnels, blasting rocks, building bridges, etc.

Alfred Nobel’s Will

On November 27, 1895, Alfred Bernhard Nobel signed one of his WILL to allocate his wealth for the establishment of a series of prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. The prizes were awarded in his name.

Academies who Award the Nobel Prizes

As per Alfred Bernhard Nobel’s Will,

  • The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • The Swedish Academy awards the Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • The Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Physics and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

He specifically designated the institutions responsible for choosing laureates for each prize.

Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel

Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank) established the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel or Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in the year 1969.

  • It is awarded by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm.

Nobel Prize Insignias

The Nobel Laureates receive three things, namely,  a Nobel diploma, a Nobel Medal and a document confirming the Nobel Prize amount of 10 million Swedish kronor (more than USD 1.1 million).The medals are made of 18 carat recycled gold.

The term “Laureate” refers to being signified by the laurel wreath. In the Greek mythology, the god Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head.

Nobel Medal

The Nobel Medals in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine and Literature display the image of Alfred Nobel and the years of his birth and death (1833-1896). Nobel’s portrait also appears on the Nobel Peace Prize Medal and the Medal for the Prize in Economic Sciences, but with a slightly different design. The image in the reverse side of the medal varies according to the institution awarding the prize.

Nobel Prize Award Ceremonies

i.The Nobel Prizes have been presented to Nobel Laureates on 10 December, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death, since 1901.

ii.Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine and Literature are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden. The King of Sweden hands over the awards to all Nobel Laureates at the Blue Hall of the Stockholm City Hall since 1934.

iii.Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway. The Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee hands over the awards in the presence of the King and Queen of Norway, the Norwegian government.

iv.Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences also awarded at Stockholm, Sweden.

Quick view of Nobel Laureates from 1901

For 603 times, between 1901 and 2020, the Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences were awarded. Out of  the total 962 times , 934 were given to individual persons and 28 to organisations.

Nobel Prize Total Number of Prizes Total Number of Laureates Awarded to one Laureate Prize shared by 2 Laureates Prize Shared by 3 Laureatues
Physics 114 216 47 32 35
Chemistry 112 186 63 24 25
Physiology or Medicine 111 222 39 33 39
Literature 113 117 109 4 NIL
Peace 101 107+28 69 30 2
Economic Sciences 52 86 25 20 7
Total 603 962 352 143 108

First Nobel Laureates in each category

Name of the Laureate Nobel Prize Category Year of Award
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen Physics 1901
Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff Chemistry 1901
Emil Adolf von Behring Physiology or Medicine 1901
Sully Prudhomme  Literature 1901
Jean Henry Dunant

Frédéric Passy

Peace 1901
Ragnar Frisch

Jan Tinbergen

Economic Sciences 1969

Years without Nobel Prizes; 49 times

i.Since the institution of the nobel prize in 1901, a total 49 prizes were not awarded. The award for Nobel prize in Economic Science has not been missed since 1969.

ii.Most of the awards which were not awarded during  World War I (1914-1918) and II (1939-1945).

Nobel Laureates and affiliation

Only the Nobel Laureates in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Laureates in Economic Sciences are mentioned in the list by affiliation 1907-2017.

Youngest Nobel Laureates

Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan  at the age of 17, won the Peace Prize in 2014 and became the youngest Nobel Laureates since 1901. She also is the First Pakistani Woman Nobel laureate.

Oldest Nobel Laureates

i.John B. Goodenough, USA, at the age of 97 won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2019 and became the oldest laureate to receive this award, since 1901.

Nobel Prizes to women

i.The Nobel Prize and Prize in Economic Sciences have been awarded 57 times to women, between  1901 and 2020.

ii.Marie Curie is the only woman to be honoured twice with the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

iii.She also became the 1st woman to receive the Nobel prize.

iv.In total, 57 women  have been awarded the Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2020.

List of women who won 1st nobel prize in each category

Nobel Prize Category Name of the Laureate Year of Award
Physics Marie Curie 1903
Chemistry Marie Curie 1911
Physiology or Medicine Gerty Theresa Cori 1947
Literature Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf 1909
Peace Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner 1905
Economic Sciences Elinor Ostrom 2009

Two Nobel Laureates who declined the prize

i.Jean-Paul Sartre, France awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature, but he declined the prize as he had consistently declined all official honours.

ii.Le Duc Tho, Vietnam awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger for negotiating the Vietnam peace accord, Le Duc Tho declined the award stating that the opposition has violated the truce.

Four Nobel Laureates who Forced to decline the Nobel Prize

i.Adolf Hitler,  a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party stopped 3 German Nobel Laureates, namely, Richard Kuhn(Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1938), Adolf Butenandt(Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1939) and Gerhard Domagk(Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1939), from accepting the Nobel Prize.

ii.Boris Pasternak, Russia initially accepted the Nobel Prize in Literature 1958 but was later forced by the authorities of the Soviet Union, to decline the Nobel Prize.

Three Nobel Laureates who were under arrest at the time of the award

i.At the  time of the award of the Nobel Prize, 3 nobel laureates were under arrest. ii.Notably, there were all Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

iii.3 nobel laureates are as follows,

  • Carl von Ossietzky, German pacifist and journalist(awarded in 1935)
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese politician(awarded in 1991)
  • Liu Xiaobo, Chinese human rights activist(awarded in 2010).

Multiple Time Nobel Laureates

The following are the multiple times nobel laureates

Name of the Laureate Nobel Prize received in 
John Bardeen Physics 1956

Physics 1972

Marie Curie Physics 1903

Chemistry 1911

Linus Carl Pauling Chemistry 1954

Peace 1962

Frederick Sanger Chemistry 1958

Chemistry 1980

International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC), Switzerland Peace 1917

Peace 1944

Peace 1963

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Switzerland Peace 1954

Peace 1981

  • Linus Carl Pauling is the only person to have been awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes.
  • Marie Curie is the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two sciences.

Posthumous Nobel Prizes

i.Since 1974 ,The Statutes of the Nobel Foundation specified a nobel prize cannot be awarded posthumously unless death has occurred after the announcement of the Nobel Prize.

ii.Before 1974, nobel Prize has only been awarded posthumously twice, in 1931 Literature Prize awarded to Erik Axel Karlfeldt, and the 1961 Peace Prize awarded to UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld due to certain circumstances.

List of Family Nobel Laureates

Family Nobel Laureates
S.NO Name of the Laureate Nobel Prize received in  Jointly Received among themselves
 Married couples (at the time of the award) 
1) Marie Curie Physics 1903 Yes
Pierre Curie
2) Irène Joliot-Curie Chemistry 1935 Yes
Frédéric Joliot
3) Gerty Theresa Cori Physiology or Medicine 1947 Yes
Carl Ferdinand Cori
4) May-Britt Moser Physiology or Medicine 2014 Yes
Edvard I. Moser
5) Alva Myrdal Peace Prize 1982 No
Gunnar Myrdal Economic Sciences 1974 No
6) Esther Duflo Economic Sciences 2019 Yes
Abhijit Banerjee
Mother & daughter
1) Marie Curie Physics 1903 No
Chemistry 1911 No
Irène Joliot-Curie Chemistry 1935 No
   Father & daughter
5) Pierre Curie Physics 1903 No
Irène Joliot-Curie Chemistry 1935 No
Father & Son
1) William Henry Bragg Physics 1915 Yes
William Lawrence Bragg
2) Niels Henrik David Bohr Physics 1922 No
Aage Niels Bohr Physics 1975 No
3) Hans Karl August Simon von Euler-Chelpin Chemistry 1929 No
Ulf von Euler Physiology or Medicine 1970 No
4) Arthur Kornberg Physiology or Medicine 1959 No
Roger D. Kornberg Chemistry 2006 No
5) Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn Physics 1924 No
Kai M. Siegbahn Physics 1981 No
6) Joseph John Thomson Physics 1906 No
George Paget Thomson Physics 1937 No
1) Jan Tinbergen Economic Sciences 1969 No
Nikolaas Tinbergen Physiology or Medicine 1973 No

List of Indians who received Nobel Prize

Indian Citizenship

i.Rabindranath Tagore received the nobel prize in Literature in 1913 and became the 1st Indian and 1st Asian to win a nobel prize. He also became the 1st  non European to win a Nobel prize in literature.

ii.Chandrasekhara Venkata(C.V.) Raman received the nobel prize in Physics in 1930 and became the 1st Indian to receive a Nobel Prize for Physics. He also was the first Asian to receive a Nobel Prize in any branch of science.

iii.Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and became the 1st Indian citizen to bag this award. She became the 1st Asian woman Nobel laureate.

iv.Amartya Sen won Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998 and became the 1st Asian to have been honoured with the award.

v.Kailash Satyarthi, the founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan won Nobel Peace Prize 2014 along with Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan.

Nobel laureates born as Indian citizens but became citizens of another country when they were awarded the prize

i.Har Gobind Khorana, born in Raipur, India(Nationality- USA) won Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1968, along with Robert W. Holley and Marshall W. Nirenberg.

ii.Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, born in Lahore, India (now Pakistan); (Nationality- USA) won Nobel Prize in Physics 1983 along with William A. Fowler.

iii.Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, born in Tamil Nadu, India(Nationality- UK, USA) won The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009 along with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath.

iv.Abhijit Banerjee, born in Mumbai, India(Nationality- USA) won The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2019 along with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer.

Nobel laureates who born or were residents in India But were not Indians citizens when they became recipients of the Nobel Prize

i.Ronald Ross, born in Almora, India won Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1902.

ii.Rudyard Kipling, born in  Bombay (now Mumbai), British India (now India) won Nobel Prize in Literature 1907.

iii.14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso), born in Taktser, Tibet won Nobel Peace Prize 1989. He became the First Tibetan Nobel laureate.

 Nobel Prize Winners 2020

Click here to know more about Nobel prize winners 2020