Explore the Most Prestigious Nobel Prize Categories

The Nobel Prize has often crossed our ears and eyes, primarily through News channels and Newspapers. We may have read the winners’ names, especially when Barack Obama received it. However, most of us may not know the real deal behind the Nobel Prize categories and what this prize is about.

Well, the Nobel Prize is a prestigious award. It rewards the best minds for their remarkable achievements. It casts an atmosphere of being above the political strife, focused exclusively on the benefit of humanity. This is just a basic idea, so let us explore it more.

History Behind The Nobel Prize

The famous Swedish Chemist and Businessman Alfred Nobel introduced the Nobel Prize in the 19th Century. He collected a considerable fortune and drafted a will stating that all his fortune must be used to reward those who contribute immensely to humankind. 

The Nobel Foundation was established after Alfred Nobel’s death. It worked to honour Alfred Nobel’s last wish. Further, on December 10, 1901, the first Nobel Prize award was given.

There are five Nobel Prize Categories.

  • Peace
  • Literature
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine or Physiology

Sweden’s Central Bank introduced a new Nobel Prize category for economic sciences in 1969 to celebrate its 300th anniversary.

Nobel Prize Awarding Process

Alfred Nobel’s will was a perfect example of democracy. He chose three Swedish and one Norwegian institution to deliver the Nobel Prize in different categories. Additionally, it was his way to ensure a fair and just selection process. Additionally, such a decision enhanced the prestige of the Nobel Prize.

  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm – Rewards Nobel Prize for Economics, Chemistry, and Physics.
  • The Swedish Academy – Awards Nobel Prizes for Literature
  • The Karolinska Institute – Rewards Nobel Prizes for Medicine or Physiology.
  • The Norwegian Nobel Committee, Oslo – Rewards Nobel Prize for Peace. 

The Nobel Foundation is responsible for the functional administration and legal ownership of the funds. It is an administrative body of the awarding institutions but has no role in prize distribution or decisions.

The Nobel Prize Categories

There are six Nobel Prize categories. The prize distribution for literature, chemistry, physics, medicine or physiology, and economics occurs in Stockholm. The Nobel Prize for Peace is given in Oslo. More details and the list of Nobel Prize categories are as follows.

The Nobel Prize In Physics

The Royal Swedish Science Academy awards the Nobel Prize in Physics to one or more scientists for important discoveries in physics. Further, notable people like Marie Curie and Albert Einstein have received this award.

1901 and 2023 saw 225 laureates receive the Nobel Prize in Physics 117 times. John Bardeen is the only person to have received this prize twice.

In 2023, three Laureates received the Nobel Prize in Physics.

  • Anne L’Huillier
  • Pierre Agostini
  • Ferenc Krausz 

Prize Motivation: To experiment with techniques that produce attosecond light pulses. You can examine the electron’s dynamics in matter from these pulses.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology

Alfred Nobel was actively involved in medical research. Around 1890, he made acquaintance with Swedish scientist Jöns Johansson through the Karolinska Institute. The same year, Johansson worked in Nobel’s laboratory in Sevran, France. Further, Nobel indicated in his will that medicine or physiology was the third field of study. 

The Nobel Assembly in Stockholm and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute give the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Drew Weissman and Katalin Kariko received the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 2023.

Prize Motivation: For their discoveries regarding nucleoside base modifications. It resulted in the development of successful vaccines containing mRNA against COVID-19.

The Nobel Prize In Chemistry

Alfred Nobel’s research mainly focused on chemistry. His understanding of chemistry served as the foundation for both the creation of his innovations and the industrial techniques he used. Chemistry was the second field for the prize in Nobel’s will. 

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden, gives the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

In 2023, three people received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

  • Moungi Bawendi
  • Louis Brus
  • Aleksey Yekimov

Prize Motivation: For the synthesis and discovery of quantum dots.

The Nobel Prize In Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to writers. It is one of the most prestigious awards for them. It is given to writers willing to push the boundaries of their discipline and challenge humanity.

Jom Fosse received the award in 2023.

Prize Motivation: The revolutionary plays and writing speak for the unspeakable.

The Nobel Peace Prize 

Alfred Nobel was highly active in the peace movement and curious about social concerns. Bertha von Suttner, a leading force behind the international peace movement in Europe and a friend of Alfred, influenced Alfred with his thoughts on peace. Eventually, Bertha was awarded the Peace Prize. 

In his testament, Nobel included peace as the fifth prize category. The Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) appoints a committee to select the Nobel Laureate.

After that, Narges Mohammadi received the award in 2023.

Prize Motivation: She fought to improve human rights and everyone’s freedom. She also battled against Iran’s female despotism. 

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize In Economic Sciences In Memory of Alfred Nobel

In honour of Sir Alfred Nobel, Sweden’s central bank awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences. It was first delivered in 1968 on the bank’s 300th anniversary. Also, Sveriges Riksbank donated to the Nobel Foundation in 1968. 

Jan Tinbergen and Ragnar Frisch were awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences for the first time in 1969. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards it based on the guidelines of the Nobel Prize. Additionally, the winners receive a 24-karat gold medal and $1,035,000.

Going ahead, Claudia Goldin received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in 2023.

Prize Motivation: To understand the effects of the women’s labour market.

Summing Up

The Nobel Prize is a prestigious award initiated by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist and businessman, in the late 19th century. It rewards significant contributions to humanity in six categories: Peace, Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Medicine or Physiology, and Economic Sciences. Various Swedish and Norwegian institutions administer the prizes, as specified in Nobel’s will, to ensure a fair selection process. The awards are recognized globally for their contribution to advancing knowledge, promoting peace, and enhancing human welfare.


What is the Nobel Prize?

The Nobel Prize is an international recognition awarded annually across six categories—Peace, Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Medicine or Physiology, and Economic Sciences. It honours individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions in these fields.

Who established the Nobel Prize and why?

Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, engineer, and industrialist, established the Nobel Prize. In his will, he allocated his fortune to establish the prizes, intending to reward those whose work benefits humanity.

How are Nobel Prize winners selected?

Specific institutions in Sweden and Norway select Nobel Prize winners, depending on the category. These include the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Swedish Academy, the Karolinska Institute, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Further, each institution uses a rigorous selection process to ensure the laureates’ contributions are of the highest merit.

Can someone win a Nobel Prize more than once?

Yes, individuals can win a Nobel Prize more than once, although it’s rare. For example, Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 and in Chemistry in 1911.

What is the significance of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, while other prizes are awarded in Stockholm?

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, according to Alfred Nobel’s will. Nobel believed that Norway was more aligned with peace efforts during his lifetime, and he made this decision to foster peace. The other prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, aligning with the institutions responsible for those fields.

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