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Interesting Facts about Nobel Prize

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Interesting Facts about Nobel Prize
  • On 27 November 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace – the Nobel Prizes. In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank) established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.
© Nobel Prize Museum. Photo: Hans Nilsson
  • Between 1901 and 2021, the Nobel Prizes and the prize in economic sciences were awarded 609 times.
  • In the statutes of the Nobel Foundation it says: “A prize amount may be equally divided between two works, each of which is considered to merit a prize. If a work that is being rewarded has been produced by two or three persons, the prize shall be awarded to them jointly. In no case may a prize amount be divided between more than three persons.”
© Nobel Prize Museum. Photo: Hans Nilsson
  • 947 laureates* and 28 organizations have been awarded the Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2021. Of them, 89 are economic sciences laureates. A small number of individuals and organizations have been honoured more than once, which means that 943 unique individuals and 25 unique organizations have received the Nobel Prize in total.
Nobel Medal (17)
The Nobel Prize medal. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud 2018 
  • Since the start, in 1901, there are some years when the Nobel Prizes have not been awarded. The total number of times are 49.
  • The youngest Nobel Prize laureate – Malala Yousafzai, aged 17 – Nobel Peace Prize 2014
  • The oldest Nobel Prize laureate – John B. Goodenough, aged 97 – Chemistry, 2019
Nobel Prize Museum, © Nobel Prize Museum. Photo: Hans Nilsson
  • Between 1901 and 2021 the Nobel Prize and prize in economic sciences have been awarded 58 times to women.
  • Jean-Paul Sartre, awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature and Le Duc Tho, awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with US declined the prize.
  • Three German Nobel Prize laureates, Richard KuhnAdolf Butenandt and Gerhard Domagk and Boris Pasternak, the 1958 Nobel Laureate in Literature were forced by authorities to decline the Nobel Prize.
  • On December 10, 1901, the Nobel Prizes were awarded for the first time in Stockholm and in Christiania (now Oslo) respectively.
  • Each Nobel Prize diploma is a unique work of art, created by foremost Swedish and Norwegian artists and calligraphers.

Why are the individuals and organisations awarded a Nobel Prize called Nobel Prize laureates?

The word “laureate” refers to being signified by the laurel wreath. In Greek mythology, the god Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head. A laurel wreath is a circular crown made of branches and leaves of the bay laurel (in Latin: Laurus nobilis). In Ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honour – both in athletic competitions and in poetic meets

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