The Nobel Prize season for 2023 has officially begun with the announcement of the laureates for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Medicine. The next announcement to follow is that of the Physics award for the year, which will be presented on Tuesday. The Nobel Prize is considered the world’s most prestigious award, given in recognition of outstanding contributions to humankind in physiology or medicine, physics, literature, chemistry, and peace. Each winner receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a cheque for 11 million Swedish crowns ($1.4m) in today’s money. The winners collect their prizes at an official ceremony in Stockholm’s Concert Hall on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. Nobel Prize laureates include scientists such as Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, authors like Ernest Hemingway and Marie Curie, and inspirational leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, based in Stockholm, Sweden, selects the laureates. The Academy was founded in 1739 and has 440 Swedish and 175 foreign members. Membership is a high honor and a symbol of successful scientific work. Each member elects three of their fellow members to the Nobel Committee, which is the body that selects the laureates in each field.
Each year, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences presents a Nobel Prize to those who have conferred the most significant benefit to humankind in the field of physics. The Prize is based on the estate left by Alfred Nobel in his will from 1895. It is awarded annually in a public ceremony at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm and is regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious awards.
In the past, Nobel Prizes have been awarded for discoveries that were viewed as controversial. These included a 1949 award to Egas Moniz for his work on lobotomies, now known as barbaric brain surgery. Two other winners have declined their Prizes: French author Jean-Paul Sartre turned down the Literature Prize in 1964, and Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho rejected the Peace Prize in 1973.
Historically, most of the Nobel Prize winners have been men. However, women now win a more significant percentage of the prizes in scientific fields. There are now 61 female Nobel Prize laureates, including some of the most influential scientists in history, such as Marie Curie, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, and Donna Strickland.
The Nobel Prize season continues this week with the announcements of the Prize for Chemistry on Wednesday and Literature on Thursday. The Nobel Prize for Peace will be announced on Friday.