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The Nobel Prize: Getting Started

The 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.

A person or organization awarded the Nobel Prize is called Nobel Laureate. The word "laureate" refers to being signified by the laurel wreath. In ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honor.

Laurel Wreath                                    Alfred Nobel     



900 Nobel Laureates!

874 Laureates* and 26 organizations have been awarded the Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2015. Of them, 76 are Laureates in Economic Sciences. A small number of individuals and organizations have been honored more than once, which means that 870 individuals and 23 unique organizations have received the Nobel Prize in total.

The number of Laureates continues to grow:  11 Laureates were added in 2016 and 12 more in 2017

Lavish Ceremonies await Nobel prize winners!


Britannic Encyclopedia

Greek Islanders nominated for NPP

The Nobel Museum Stockholm, Sweden

The Nobel Prize YouTube video page

Nobel Prize fast facts

  • Nobel prize recipients are called laureates.
  • The award consists of a medal, a personal diploma, and a cash prize (8-million Swedish kroner (SEK) - approximately $955,400 U.S. dollars as of September 2015).
  • The main inscription on one side of the Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, and Literature Nobel Prize medals is the same:   "Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes,"   loosely translated, "And they who bettered life on earth by new found mastery." Word for word translation, "inventions enhance life which is beautified through art."
  • The Peace medal has the inscription "Pro pace et fraternitate gentium," translated, "For the peace and brotherhood of men."
  • The Economics medal has no inscription.
  • Nobel prizes are announced in advance but awarded annually on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death.
  • The Nobel Prizes for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Economics are awarded at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded at its own ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Periodically, no prize has been awarded. This happened most recently in 1972.
  • The number of winners is limited to three per category.
  • A person must be alive to be nominated. If they die during the consideration period, their name will be removed. Only if a person is announced as a winner and dies prior to the ceremony, will a posthumous award be given.
  • The Nobel Foundation protects the common interests of the Prize Awarding institutions: the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Swedish Academy, Karolinska Institutet, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

1866 - Swedish chemist, engineer and industrialist Alfred Nobel invents dynamite. He later builds companies and laboratories in more than 20 countries around the world.

December 10, 1896 - Nobel dies in Italy at the age of 63. His will endows awards in five categories: Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace.

June 29, 1900 - The Nobel Foundation is established. It is the central body of the Nobel organization responsible for awarding the Nobel Prizes.

1901 - The first Nobel Prizes are awarded.

1939-1943 - No Nobel Peace Prizes are awarded.

1968 - A sixth award, Economics, is added by the Bank of Sweden (Sveriges Riksbank) in the memory of Alfred Nobel.

Library Media Specialist

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Nancy Green
Timberlane Regional High School
36 Greenough Road
Plaistow, New Hampshire 03865

Alfred Bernard Nobel

The youngest laureate

Malala Yousafzai

The Youngest Laureate

The youngest Nobel Laureate ever is 17-year old Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai.

573 Nobel Prizes

Between 1901 and 2015, the Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences were awarded 573 times.