In the scientific world, one of the highest achievements is the Nobel Prize. For more than a century, this award has been presented annually to scientists, cultural figures and people who have made a huge contribution to the development of social and scientific life. The prize itself was founded by Alfred Nobel. Two years after his death, a will was announced in which he clearly disposed of his property. One of the conditions was the creation of a fund and clear instructions on how much money to give, who will be potential candidates, etc. Thus, the famous award was born, which became a dream and an ideological engine for most scientists and figures.
Of course, many experts agree that political factors could often influence the presentation. In some cases, they contributed to the receipt of the award, while in others they rather hindered, despite obvious merit. Nevertheless, if the candidates for the Peace Prize often caused conflicting opinions among the world community, then most of the merits in the fields of science were awarded unanimously.
Nobel Prize Amount
The size of the Nobel Prize has changed over the years and often depended not only on the instructions of Alfred Nobel himself, but also on the economic situation, fund and other conditions. For example, the peak value over the past decade was noted in 2007, when the amount of payments was 1.56 million dollars. By 2011, the amount of the award fell to 1.4 million. The decrease in payments after 2011 is due to the fact that the amount of the award was prohibitively high, because the fund could not even provide for the payment of the award itself, not to mention taxation and expenses for the ceremony itself. The size of the Nobel Prize in 2015 amounted to $977 thousand. Due to the severe fall in the Swedish krona, this year’s premium has fallen below $1 million. This is the first time in 15 years that this has been the case.
According to the rules from the statute of the Nobel Prize, the amount is initially divided by the number of projects, and only then by their participants. For example, if two winning projects were selected during the presentation, but one of them was led by two people, then each of them will receive ¼ of the total amount. If only one award was included in the nomination, then its amount of the Nobel Prize will be divided into equal parts, depending on the number of researchers.
The fifth rule of the statute states that the award does not have to be given, so in theory it may not be given to anyone. This condition comes into force only when the members of the committee cannot find worthy candidates. In this case, all funds are automatically transferred to the next year. If during the subsequent presentation the same scenario occurs, then all the accumulated finances will be transferred to the disposal of the fund itself.
What is the Nobel Prize for?
Almost every person on the planet knows and understands what the Nobel Prize is. Over the years, tens of thousands of scientists, cultural figures and even organizations that have made a significant contribution to various spheres of public life have become candidates for it. If we summarize and note who and for what the Nobel Prize is given, then one thing can be said – only the best of the best. All the conditions and rules by which the stages of selection and awarding of candidates take place are spelled out in a special statute, which was the testament of Nobel himself.
It is this document that regulates all conditions. According to the rules, the award can only be given to individuals. Exceptions to the rules are possible only in the case of awarding the Peace Prize, among the candidates of which there may be organizations. For example, in the years of the First and Second World Wars, awards were not held. Only in 1917 and 1944 did one organization win the Nobel Prize. For numerous merits and invaluable help, she became a red cross.
Also, according to the statute, the maximum annual number of people who can receive the award should not exceed three laureates. It is rather remarkable that this rule was introduced much later, namely in 1968, although throughout history it was observed de facto.
The place where the Nobel Prize is awarded has not changed for more than a century. The ceremony was first held in 1901. It is worth noting that annual ceremonies are held in Sweden and Norway, depending on the industry. Stockholm usually hosts awards in chemistry, physics, medicine and physiology, economics and literature. The prizes themselves are awarded to the winners from the hands of the King of Sweden. The Peace Prize is held annually in Oslo, where the award is given by the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
The most famous and controversial candidates
Given the longevity of the Nobel Prize itself, as well as the nominees, it is clear that some awards will be considered controversial. This happened in the case of two Russian Nobel Prize winners, namely M. Gorbachev and A. Sakharov.
In 1975, Andrei Sakharov was awarded the Peace Prize, which was perceived rather ambiguously. Many doubts were introduced by the fact that the scientist himself was a physicist and took part in the creation of the hydrogen bomb. However, due to his rejection of the party’s policies, he was persecuted, and received the award for his staunch fight against the abuse of power and inflexibility against the suppression of other people’s dignity by the ruling party. This was not the only case when the presentation had a brightly political color, which was directed against Russia.
The second such case was the presentation of the prize to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990. Among his merits, the committee noted his great contribution to the process of ending the Cold War and the changes that were taking place in the country. This presentation split the opinions of the post-Soviet and Western sides, since for some the first president was an example, and for others a person who finally collapsed the USSR.
Also, the presentation of the Peace Prize to Yasser Arafat caused a big scandal. At the heart of the claims to challenge this award lay the fact that the achievement of peace was carried out through radical methods, violence and even terrorist attacks.
Among the famous Russian Nobel Prize winners are also:
- I.P. Pavlov (medicine and physiology).
- L.V. Kantorovich (contribution to the theory of resource allocation).
- Zhores Ivanovich Alferov (semiconductor technology).
- Konstantin Sergeevich Novoselov (experiments and research of graphene material).
- Nikolai Gennadievich Basov and Alexander Mikhailovich Prokhorov (quantum electronics).
If we talk about the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history, then he was William Lawrence Bragg. He became the owner of the most prestigious award for a scientist at the age of 25 (1910). The Australian has earned a prize in physics for joint research with his father.
Twice Nobel Laureates
A rather interesting fact is that only four people in history have won the Nobel Prize twice.
- John Bardeen. American physicist who received the award in 1956 and 1972. He became the only scientist in the world who received prizes in physics twice.
- Linus Pauling. The American chemist won the world award twice. In 1954 in chemistry, and in 1962 received the Peace Prize.
- Frederic Senger. The English chemist received the award in 1958 and 1980, both of which were in the field of chemistry.
- Maria Sklodowska-Curie. In addition to being the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, she has also been awarded the prestigious award twice. In 1903, a woman received a prize in physics, and in 1911 – in chemistry.
Nobel laureates in 2015
In 2015, 327 people were selected by the committee. Of these, 57 were nominated for the prestigious award for the first time. The Nobel Prize was awarded to:
- Angus Deaton. The sixty-nine-year-old Anglo-American won the Economics Prize.
- The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was awarded the Peace Prize for its contribution to the democratization of the country after the revolution in 2011.
- Svetlana Alexievich. The Belarusian writer was recognized as the best in the field of literature.
- In the field of chemistry this year, three scientists deserved the award at once. World recognition went to Aziz Sankar, Paul Mondrich and Thomas Lindel. They made a huge contribution to the study of repair of damaged DNA.
- Arthur McDonald and Takaaki Kajita became laureates in the field of physics.
- Three scientists also deserved the prize in medicine: Yuyu Tu, William Campbell and Satoshi Omura.