Nobel Prize, award given for outstanding achievement in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, peace, or literature. The awards were established by the will of Alfred Nobel, who left a fund to provide annual prizes in the five areas listed above. These prizes were first given in 1901. The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was established in 1968 from funds provided by the Swedish national bank, Sveriges Riksbank, and was first awarded in 1969. Each prize consists of a gold medal, a sum of money, and a diploma with the citation of award. The amount of money available for each prize varies from year to year. The Nobel Prizes are awarded without regard to nationality; the judges are, by the terms of Nobel's will, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (physics and chemistry, as well as economic science), the Swedish Royal Caroline Medico-Surgical Institute (physiology or medicine), the Swedish Academy (literature), and a committee elected by the Norwegian parliament (peace). The awards are made on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death, the Peace Prize being presented in Oslo and the others in Stockholm. A prize is sometimes shared; several times the Nobel Peace Prize has been given to an organization. There may be one or more years in which a prize or prizes may not be awarded; this has happened most often with the Peace Prize. See the tables entitled Nobel Prizes and Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for lists of persons who have been awarded the prizes.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.