All Eyes on the Nobel Prize

By Shelby Holliday 10.08.2013 blog

We all hear about the Nobel Prize winners every year, and we all know they are a big deal…

But how are the recipients chosen? What do they actually take home? And where did these awards even come from in the first place? After a quick Google sesh, I realized there’s a lot more to the prize than meets the eye.

  • First of all, let’s talk about the man who started it all — Alfred Nobel. He was a Swedish chemist and businessman who invented dynamite, and in his will, Nobel ordered that most of his money be used to reward people who “shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind“. The first prize was announced 5 years after Nobel’s death in 1901.
  • Since 1901, The Nobel Prize has been awarded in physics, chemistry, literature, medicine, and peace. A prize for economic sciences was added in 1968.
  • If there aren’t any candidates worthy of winning in a particular category, the prize money is reserved for the following year.
  • Nobel prize recipients are called laureates. They take home a medal, a personal diploma, and a cash prize of about $1.2 million U.S. dollars.
  • From 1901 to 2012, the prizes have been awarded 555 times to 862 winners. (Multiple winners often share one prize.)
  • Only 43 women have received the Nobel Prize. Marie Curie is the only female to have won it twice.
  • The average age of a Nobel laureate is 59. The youngest is 25, the oldest is 90.
  • The Nobel Prizes are decided by Nobel committees. Here are some of the most “winning” countries:
  • 10 Laureates born in Australia
  • 10 Laureates born in China
  • 6 Laureates born in Egypt
  • 49 Laureates born in France
  • 11 Laureates born in India
  • 17 Laureates born in Japan
  • 8 Laureates born in South Africa
  • 247 Laureates born in the U.S.A.

Check out more cool facts over at and learn more about past Nobel winners here. 


  1. Hannah

    Someday I would love to win that!

  2. cody

    I think if some one did something worthy of the prize they should get what they deserve. One thing that shocked me was the number of laureates in the united states.
    Also the number of laureates in france. Why are the so many in those countries and nowhere els

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