Everything you need to know about the Nobel Prize Belarusian journalist and writer Svetlana Alexievich the 2015 Nobel literature winner, center, signs autographs after her news conference in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in literature Thursday, for works that the prize judges called "a monument to suffering and courage." (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Everything you need to know about the Nobel Prize
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The beginning of October means Nobel Prize time. That's when committees in Stockholm and Oslo announce the winners of what many consider the most respected awards in the world.
 
This year's Nobel season kicked off Oct. 5. The medicine award was announced for the 106th time. The prize in medicine was awarded jointly. It was given to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Omura and Youyou Tu.
 
Daily announcements followed this week. Physics was announced on Oct. 6. It was awarded to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald. Chemistry was announced on Oct. 7. It was awarded to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar. Literature was announced on Oct. 8. It was awarded to Svetlana Alexievich.

The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize was announced today, Oct. 9.  The prize was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. 

Finally, the economics award will be announced on Oct. 12.
 
Each prize is worth 8 million Swedish kronor. That is $960,000.  The award will be handed out with a diploma and gold medal on Dec. 10.
 
The prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace were established by the will of Alfred Nobel. He was a wealthy Swedish industrialist. He was the inventor of dynamite. The first awards were handed out in 1901. That was five years after Nobel's death.
 
The economics award is officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. It wasn't created by Nobel. Instead, it was created by Sweden's central bank in 1968.
 
Though it's handed out along with the other prizes and the criteria for selecting winners are the same, it's not a Nobel Prize in the same sense.
 
The Nobel statutes prohibit the judges from discussing their discussions for 50 years. So it's probably going to be a while before we know for sure how judges made their picks for 2015. And, who was on their short lists.
 
The judges try hard to avoid dropping hints about the winners before the announcements. But sometimes word gets out. Last year, there was a sudden surge in betting on literature winner Patrick Modiano in the days leading up to the announcement.
 
In a new book, the peace prize committee has accused its former secretary of breaking the code of silence. The book describes some of the discussions leading up to the awards during his 25-year tenure.
 
Thousands of people around the world are eligible to submit nominations for the Nobel Prizes. They include university professors, lawmakers, previous Nobel laureates and the committee members themselves.
 
The nominations are kept secret for 50 years. Still, those who submit them sometimes announce their suggestions publicly. That is particularly true for the Nobel Peace Prize.
 
That's how we know that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Pope Francis, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi are among this year's 273 nominees.
 
The Nobel Peace Prize is presented in Norway. The other awards are handed out in Sweden. It's how Alfred Nobel wanted it.
 
His exact reasons are unclear. But during his lifetime, Sweden and Norway were joined in a union. The union was dissolved in 1905.
 
Sometimes relations have been tense between the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, which manages the prize money and the fiercely independent peace prize committee in Oslo.
 
Scientists often have to wait decades to have their work recognized by the Nobel judges. The judges want to make sure that any breakthrough withstands the test of time.
 
That's a departure from Nobel's will. It states that the awards should endow "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind."
 
The peace prize committee is the only one that regularly rewards achievements made in the previous year. According to Nobel's wishes, that prize should go to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations. For the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is secrecy important?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (52)
  • roberto-ver
    10/09/2015 - 01:24 p.m.

    The nobel prize is a very important prize. it is awarded to the best of the best. people are famous for the award. it is the greatest award of all time.

  • holdeno-3-bar
    10/09/2015 - 08:27 p.m.

    Secrecy is important so that the suspense of the Nobel awards is kept. When the Nobel committee chooses a winner, they still keep all the nominations secret. This way, there is still an air of excitement when the award is announced. If the nominations weren't secret, then the recipient of the prize wouldn't be as thrilled during the ceremony, since they knew that they won.
    I like this article because it tells about a very prestigious award.

  • maxwellc-3-bar
    10/09/2015 - 09:54 p.m.

    Secrecy is important because the Nobel Prize must be awarded to someone who has made a lasting impact for the good of the human race. Without the secrecy of the nominees, people would do things that only have effects for a short time just to win the award instead of working with genuine motivation for international peace. As the article said, the prize must be given to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations. For the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." This means that the person who has worked the hardest and the most effectively to achieve global peace must be the receiver of the prize. I think this is a complex thing to understand, but that it is an extremely important way to get results in the way of the peace and community of all countries.

  • nickh-ver
    10/12/2015 - 12:13 p.m.

    This article is pretty cool I never knew that there are so many differnt kinds of noble prizes. Also I didn't know there was a cash reward along with a dimploma as well. I also thought it was kinda odd that the judges have to keep the nomines secert for 50 years.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    10/12/2015 - 08:13 p.m.

    The distribution of the Nobel Prize is a big event. Anyone in the world could be nominated for it. The process can take a very long time because people have to decide who will receive the prize. For scientists, it could take decades for them to receive the Nobel Prize.
    Why is secrecy important?
    Answer: Secrecy is important because if you told them, they would not be as surprised.

  • caymanm-2-bar
    10/12/2015 - 08:45 p.m.

    Secrecy is important because it keeps people free. If there wasn't secrecy, many people could be urged to do something they don't want to do and can make things biased. I thought this article was important because it taught people about The Nobel Peace Prize.

  • John0724-YYCA
    10/12/2015 - 09:29 p.m.

    I think that the contestants should have waited a long time and they should have waited a long time because of the thing where they test out theory.

  • Jason0421-YYCA
    10/12/2015 - 09:31 p.m.

    I think that it is important for people who deserve it to receive a diploma and a medal. I believe that people should be recognized because there are important people who work hard for the community. Therefore, the Nobel Prize is very important to people.

  • jacksonm-2-bar
    10/13/2015 - 10:42 a.m.

    Secrecy is important so that the suspense of the Nobel awards is kept. When the Nobel authorities chose a winner, they still keep all the contenders secret. That is why it is so important to keep all of the nominations a held secret. The article talks about the most secret award out there.

  • oscarb-1-bar
    10/13/2015 - 10:51 a.m.

    Secrecy is so important to the Noble awards because they want to have an act of suspense and excitement to the winners. Also they want to have a breakthrough that lasts, and not saying the nominations will keep other people from stealing the ideas of the nominees. It show that the person who really deserves the award with their idea or breakthrough, can win fairly or be nominated.

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