October Brings Nobel Laureates

Braedon Harris, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Over 100 years ago, the first Nobel Prizes were awarded in Stockholm, Sweden. Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been given nearly every year for achievements in physics, chemistry,  medicine, literature, peace and economic sciences.

The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation and was named after Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor and entrepreneur. Prior to his death, Nobel wrote his third and final will, which sparked a lot of controversy.  In his will, Nobel asked that the largest share of his fortune be used to award “prizes to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.” However, many family members and prize awarders he had selected refused to do what he had requested. As a result, it was five years before the first Nobel Prize was awarded.

“I think that the Nobel Prizes signify hard work and human progress,” senior Phoenix Nawrocki said.

Each year, six committees meet to consider nominees and select a winner. Five of the committees are Swedish and the remaining committee is Norwegian, as dictated in Nobel’s will.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decides the prizes in physics, chemistry, and economic science; the Swedish Royal Caroline Medico-Surgical Institute determines the physiology or medicine award; the Swedish Academy chooses literature; and a committee elected by the Norwegian parliament awards the peace prize.

In February, the committees begin considering nominees, who are preselected following the announcements in the previous year, and make recommendations to the prize-awarding subcommittees in September and early October. Nobel Week begins in early October each year and the winners must be announced by Nov. 15. Finally, the Nobel Prizes are awarded on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

A person or organization who receives a Nobel Prize is called a Nobel Laureate. Each prize can be split among up to three laureates. Each laureate receives a diploma, a medal and a cash prize. Each diploma is unique, created by leading Swedish and Norwegian artists and calligraphers. Winners receive their own gold medal. However, when there are multiple laureates, the cash prize is split.

“I think that the prize money is a good incentive to cause change,” junior Hamzeh Al-Tal said.

There have been 590 Nobel Prizes awarded to 908 Laureates and 27 organizations since 1901. Only four individuals and two organizations have been awarded twice, leaving 904 unique individuals and 24 unique organizations, as the Red Cross has been awarded three times.

There were 12 new laureates added to the list this year- three in physics, three in chemistry, two for economic science, two in medicine and two for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“We should keep it around definitely,” Al-Tal said. “It gives the people who did good things recognition and money to fund their research.”

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