October 02, 2016

The Nobel Prizes In Numbers


Five prizes were created by Alfred Nobel in his 1895 will, for medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace, which were awarded from 1901. A sixth prize in economics, “in memory of Alfred Nobel,” was created by Sweden’s central bank in 1968.

Six laureates have declined the prize. The only two to do so of their own will were France’s Jean-Paul Sartre, who turned down the 1964 literature prize, and Vietnam’s then-prime minister Le Duc Tho, who refused to share the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. 

Adolf Hitler forbade three German laureates -- Richard Kuhn (chemistry 1938), Adolf Butenandt (chemistry 1939) and Gerhard Domagk (medicine 1939) -- from accepting the prize, while Soviet authorities forced Boris Pasternak to decline the 1958 literature prize.

Eight laureates were born on February 28 and May 21, the two most popular birthdates for laureates. Other dates have produced no laureates, including January 2 and October 13.

Twelve is the number of times the medicine prize jury considered the nomination of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, rejecting it each time.

His work had no scientific value, an expert concluded in 1929. 

The nomination of Mahatma Gandhi, who also famously never won a Nobel, was considered four times, excluding the year of his assassination in 1948.

The youngest laureate to be honoured was 17 years old — Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan (peace 2014). The oldest laureate was Russian-born American Leonid Hurwicz (economics 2007), who was 90.

Eighteen laureates have been affiliated with the two universities claiming the most Nobels: Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi had to wait 20 years before she could travel to Oslo to collect the peace prize she was awarded in 1991.

 Also deprived of their liberty: German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky (peace 1935), who died in 1938 without being allowed to leave his country; and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (peace 2010), is still behind bars.

Twenty-seven English-language writers have won the literature prize, ahead of French (14), German (13) and Spanish (11) laureates.

Forty eight women have won a Nobel prize, including Marie Curie who won it twice (physics 1903 and chemistry 1911). 

The economics prize, with only one female laureate, in 2009, and the physics prize, with only two laureates in 109 years, remain the most inaccessible prizes for women.

 A total of 822 Nobel laureates are men.

The various juries have decided to not award the prize 49 times. The peace prize has had no recipient 19 times, most recently in 1972.

Fifty years must pass before the juries’ top secret deliberations are opened to the public.

The average age of the economics prize laureates is 67, the oldest average age, while the youngest average age can be found among physics laureates, at 55.

There were 376 nominations for the 2016 Nobel peace prize, a record with almost 100 more than in 2014 when the previous record was set. In 1942, 1943 and 1944, no nominations were accepted.

870 people have won a Nobel prize, including four scientists who won it twice. Twenty-six groups or organisations have been honoured with the Nobel peace prize, such as Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet in 2015.

1,350 people are typically invited to the Nobel gala banquet celebrating the laureates, held each year at Stockholm’s city hall on December 10, in honour of the death of Alfred Nobel. 

At the first dinner in 1901, 113 people were invited.

Each laureate is awarded 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.2m) which is shared if several laureates are honoured in the same field. 

Literature laureates are the ones most likely to take home the whole sum: on 104 occasions there has been just one literature winner.
With many thanks to The Australian 





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