We explain what the Nobel Prize is and who was the man who founded it. In addition, the categories into which it is divided and its characteristics.
The Nobel Prize is called the highest international award in the world, which is recognized once a year to individuals whose contribution in various areas is significant. It constitutes a reference in the worldwide exaltation of transcendent values and commitment to humanity.
It is awarded to one or more individuals each year, according to various categories, by a set of institutions in Sweden and Norway, such as the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Karolinska Institute, the Swedish Academy, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Despite its prestige, it has eventually been the subject of criticism and questioning. In fact, the 2018 edition of the award was awarded without the Literature mention, due to allegations of sexual harassment within the awarding institution. For this reason, a double prize in this category will be awarded in 2019.
In 1895 the prize was established as the last wish of the Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel. Nobel is also awarded the invention of dynamite.
Another of his achievements was the founding of the Bofors company, dedicated to the production of iron and steel, as well as cannons and other forms of weaponry.
In 1888 his brother Ludvig passed away. A French newspaper published a wrong obituary, thinking that Alfred was the one who had died. Said obituary baptized him as "The merchant of death.""
This impressed Nobel so much that he reportedly decided to invest his fortune in some more positive kind of legacy. For this reason, he immediately changed his will, allocating almost 94% of his immense fortune to the creation of the prizes that bear his name.
After the death of Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Foundation was created to administer the prizes, and the inaugural edition was delivered in 1901. The first honorees were:
During the conflict, despite Sweden's neutrality, the Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded in 1939, and when Germany later invaded Norway, the awards stopped being awarded until 1942. The following year the award was resumed except for the prize for peace and literature.
The Prize for Economic Sciences was created in 1968, when the Swedish central bank donated a large sum of money to the Nobel Foundation, to create this mention, in celebration of the bank's third centenary. It was delivered for the first time to the Dutch Jan Tinbergen and the Norwegian Ragnar Frisch.
There are two parallel prizes to the Nobel, awarded by similar committees and that recognize the contribution in Mathematical Sciences (Abel Prize) and in Historical Sciences (Jaeger-LeCoultre Prize). However, these awards are much less well known than the Nobel.
This award is awarded in Oslo, Norway, by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. It has been delivered in history to 98 people and 20 organizations. In some cases, these decisions have turned out to be somewhat contentious.
This award has been awarded to 114 international writers of different nationalities. Certain authors whose fundamental work merited it have been ignored, such as the Argentine Jorge Luis Borges. Two authors declined it at the time: the Soviet Boris Pasternak and the French Jean-Paul Sartre.
It is administered by the Nobel Foundation and awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in Stockholm, Sweden, every December 10. It has been delivered 111 times, the only winner being the American John Bardeen twice.
It is awarded every December 10, Nobel's death anniversary. It has been delivered 109 times, having been declared void in several of its editions.
It has been delivered since 1969 to 70 economists. Although it is associated with the rest of the awards and is rewarded with the same amount of money and a similar medal, it is actually an award from the Swedish banks managed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
It has been a controversial award, since it was not among those initially planned by Nobel, and reviewing the profile of its laureates, favoritism for certain orthodox economic theories and practices is evident, to the detriment of other possible ones. In other areas, the true scientific value of the award is even discussed.
The Nobel Peace Prize is the exception: it has a similar design with Nobel's profile on one side but on the other the inscription Pro Rhythm et fraternities Gentium (“For rhythm and the brotherhood of nations”). The medal for the Economics Prize does not have an inscription.
Finally, the winners receive an official diploma and a variable economic incentive, according to the income of the Nobel Foundation that year. In 2013 this amount amounted to 10 million Swedish crowns, equivalent to approximately one million Euros. The sum is divided into equal amounts in those cases where there is more than one winner.
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