A Brief account of Nobel prize
The Nobel prize undoubtedly is the most prestigious international award. It was started in accordance with the will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who made most of his fortune from the invention of Dynamite. These prizes are given away on the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel i.e. December 10. Ceremonies are held in Stockholm, Sweden with an exception of Nobel Peace Prize which is given away in Oslo, Norway.
Individuals/ organizations that provide “greatest benefit on mankind” are bestowed by this honor.
How did it start!
Alfred Nobel read his own obituary in a French newspaper, the obituary was titled “ The merchant of death is dead.” The obituary was supposed to be of his brother Emil, who died while experimenting with nitroglycerin.
Alfred Nobel was shocked to see the way he was portrayed in his obituary hence was inspired to do something that would make his legacy immortal. In his Will, he appropriated 94 percent ($225 Million) of his assets to establish a prize that would be given to excellent people in the field of physics, chemistry, physiology, literature, and peace. In his Will, he also appointed authorities who would give away prizes. Indeed he was a genius.
The prize giving committees:
The Royal Swedish Academy of sciences: Physics, Chemistry and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences.
Karolinska Institute: Physiology/Medicine
Swedish Academy: Literature
Norwegian committee: Nobel Peace Prize
The nominations are made through nomination forms, which are given to Nobel laureates and famous people of respective fields. Multiple nominations are allowed but self-nomination is forbidden. The Nobel committee shortlists on the basis of majority and other factors. The nominations and other documents are kept sealed and secret for next 50 years.
Interesting facts about Nobel prize:
1. Mahatma Gandhi never got Nobel Peace Prize but was nominated 5 times. He was very close to winning the Nobel Peace prize but was assassinated in January 1948.
In 1948, following Gandhi’s death, the Nobel Committee declined to award prize on the ground that “there was no suitable living candidate” that year.
Moreover, Nobel prize are not given posthumously.
2. Alfred Nobel in his Will advocated that the prizes be given to people who contributed the preceding year. In 1926, Nobel prize in medicine went to Johannes Finger for discovering that roundworms caused cancer (which they don’t).
Later it was decided to give the prize to people whose work have withstood the test of time.
The Nobel committee has been accused of Eurocentrism in past.
3. It’s rare but people have rejected Nobel prize, Le Duc Tho rejected Nobel Peace prize for helping in the negotiation that ended Vietnam war and led to Paris Accord. He argued that there was no real peace in Vietnam.
4. Barack Obama getting a Nobel Peace prize was seen as a premature and less thoughtful step by Nobel committee, the justifications were also childish. Anyways Obama joined the league of Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.
Surprisingly enough, Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace .
5. The Curies have a family like relationship with Nobel prizes as they have received 5 Nobel prizes till date.
Apart from all the twisted incidents Nobel prize are always the dream of all scientists. Only the works which have a tremendous impact on human life directly or indirectly are capable of fetching a Nobel prize. Let’s hope that Nobel prizes retain their purity and status.
“Let the benefactors of mankind get the finest gifts mankind can offer, a Nobel”
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