Nobel Prize : 2020 Winners and history

Nobel Prize : 2020 Winners and history

Following Content :
• About
• Selection and Nomination
• Refusals in history
• The 2020 Winners



The Nobel Prize is a collection of international awards presented annually in many different categories by Norwegian and Swedish institutions in remembrance of advances in academics, culture, and sciences. Which was the will of the Swedish chemist, engineer and industrialist Alfred Nobel, who established the five Nobel prizes in the year 1895. The prizes in Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Physics, Peace, and Chemistry were first awarded in 1901. The prizes are broadly considered as the most reputable awards available in their respective fields.

Nobel Prize 

Awarded for marvellous contributions for humanity in chemistry, literature, peace, physics, and physiology or medicine           


Sweden presents all of the prizes with the exception of the Peace Prize, which is presented by Norway.

Presented by

Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute presents the award for Physiology or Medicine. 

Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the award for Peace. 
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences  presents the award for Chemistry, Economic Sciences, Physics. 
Swedish Academy presents the award for Literature.


Prize money of 9 million SEK, approx. US$986,000 (2018) a medal; and a diploma

First awarded

1901; 119 years ago

Number of laureates

602 prizes to 962 laureates (as of 2020) 


In 1968, Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank established an award on its name, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of the Alfred Nobel. The Sveriges Riksbank gave a donation on the 300th anniversary of the bank to the Nobel Foundation which became the basis of the award. Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen, are the first prize winners in Economic Sciences which was awarded in 1969. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden award the Prize in Economic Sciences every year, according to the same principles as for the Nobel Prizes which was been awarded since 1901. Since it is not one of the prizes that Alfred Nobel established in his will in 1895. It can be said that it is not a Nobel Prize.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Nobel Prize in Physics are awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute; the Nobel Prize in Literature is granted by the Swedish Academy, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize.

Annually the prize ceremonies normally held in Stockholm, Sweden with an exception of the Peace Prize ceremony, which is held in Oslo, Norway.
Each recipient (known as a “laureate”) gets a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money that has been decided by the Nobel Foundation. (As of last year, each prize is worth 9,000,000 SEK, or about US$935,366 .) Medals made before 1980 were bashed in 23-carat gold, and later than in 18-carat green gold plated with a 24-carat gold coating.

The prize is not awarded post-mortem. however, if an awarded person dies before receiving the award, the award would still be represented. A prize would be shared among three or less than three individuals, although the Nobel Peace Prize can be awarded to organizations of more than three people.

•Selection and Nomination
The award process is similar for all of the Prizes, the big difference is that who can make nominations for each of them.


Usually, in September, a year before the prize would be awarded, the nomination forms are sent by Nobel Committee to 3,000 individuals. These individuals are generally well-known academics working in a relevant area. For the Peace Prize, inquiries are too sent to governments, former Peace Prize laureates, and current or former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The last date for the return of the nomination forms is 31 January of the year of the award. The Nobel Committee nominates approx 300 potential laureates from these forms and some additional names. The nominees ain’t publicly named, nor are they told that they are being reviewed for the prize. All nomination records for a prize are sealed for the next 50 years from the awarding of that prize.

The Nobel Committee then prepares a report showcasing the advice of experts in their relevant fields. This, along with the list of initial candidates, is submitted to the prize-awarding institutions. Then the institutions meet up and take a major vote to choose laureate or laureates. Their decision, which cannot be pleaded, is announced ASAP after the vote. A maximum of three laureates and two different works/discoveries could be selected per award. The prize money is awarded between them according to their work in their relevant field. Except for the Peace Prize which can be awarded to an organization, all the prizes in literature, economics and sciences are awarded to individuals.

•Refusals in history

*I added this part rather than anything else ’cause I found it much fascinating that people actually declined the most reputed prize*

Two laureates have voluntarily declined the Nobel Prize in history by their own will. Jean-Paul Sartre, in 1964 was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature but he refused it, stating, “A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honourable form.” 


Lê Đức Thọ was the first Asian to get Nobel prize but declined it too when he was chosen for the Peace Prize in 1973 for his work in the Paris Peace Accords, saying that he still doesn’t see the actual peace in Vietnam. George Bernard Shaw accepted the 1925 Literature Prize but tried to decline the award money which later helped him forming a new organization.

Nobel Prize 2020

Every year in October the season of Nobel Prize begins with committees in Sweden and Norway start naming laureates in a variety of prizes in the fields of sciences, literature, and economics, and peace work too. The announcements started on 5th of Oct this year with the announcement of the awarding of the Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

The Nobel Prizes mostly are presented to recipients(laureates) in Stockholm and Oslo in December. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the committees are changing their ways of representing the prizes. A number of the events would be canceled this year which was originally be held in Sweden,following a digital ceremony for the Nobelists, and medals and diplomas would be distributed to the laureate‘s embassies and given to their home countries. If possible, recipients may be invited to the award ceremony for 2021.

With a limited audience ,the ceremony in Oslo for the peace prize will be smaller this year than in most years, .

The Nobel committee announced one more change last month: Each prize will gain rise to 10 million Swedish kronor, 1 million more than in the previous year. That’s a hike in the prize value and according to the current exchange rates, it’s about $112,000.

•The 2020 Winners

              Physiology or Medicine


Harvey Alter(1/3), Michael Houghton(1/3), and Charles Rice(1/3) shared the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine equally.
Drs. Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice received their prize for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus. The Nobel committee said the three scientists had “made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives.” 


Roger Penrose(1/2), Reinhard Genzel(1/4) and Andrea Ghez(1/4) are the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2020.
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 was divided as one half of it goes to Roger Penrose “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity”.Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez share the other half of the prize (as one-fourth of the award to each) “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy.”



The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly awarded on Wednesday to Emmanuelle Charpentier(1/2) and Jennifer A. Doudna(1/2) for their work on the development of CRISPR-Cas9, a method for genome editing.



Louise Glück is the 2020 laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature. “I thought my chances were very poor, and that was fine,” she said. “But there’s also a kind of covetousness. You want your work honored. Everyone does.”   Credit…Katherine Wolkoff

The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded Louise Glück, “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

Peace Prize


The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to the World Food Program(WFP)  for its efforts to combat a rush in global hunger during the coronavirus pandemic, which has swept around the world with the ruinous impact.



Paul R. Milgrom(1/2) and Robert B. Wilson(1/2) share the the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2020 jointly  “for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.”

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