Nobel Prize is a set of international awards given for contributions by noted individuals/ organizations towards the "greatest benefit on mankind". Instituted in 1900, Nobel Prize is conferred by different Swedish and Norwegian institutions and is bestowed for excellence in the field of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace and economics. The awards were instituted as per the will of famous engineer and inventor Alfred Nobel and the first awards were given in the year 1901. The Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded by the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet; the Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded by the Swedish Academy whereas the Norwegian Nobel Committee grants the Nobel Peace Prize. The awards ceremony (except Nobel Peace Prize) takes place in Stockholm, Sweden every year. The ceremony for Nobel Peace Prize takes place in Oslo, Norway every year. Since its inception in 1901 till 2015, a total of 573 prizes have been awarded to 900 laureates (both individuals, group of individuals and organizations), some more than once. The award constitutes of a monetary award, a diploma and a gold medal. The amount of monetary award has increased considerably from the time the award was constituted. In 2016, the amount would be SEK 8 million which is roughly about USD 0.93 million.
History of Nobel Prize: The history of Alfred Noble’s will that set forth the foundation for the Nobel Prize is rather interesting. Alfred Nobel was a great scientist, chemist and inventor and amassed great wealth because of his inventions – which were primarily in the domain of explosives. His invention of ‘ballistite’ was a precursor to many smokeless explosives. Over his life he amassed great wealth on the back of many inventions – 355 to be exact. His most famous invention is dynamite. It so happened that a French Newspaper erroneously published his obituary in 1888. He was still very much alive but reading his obituary which described him as 'the merchant of death' left a strong impact on him. His brother had in fact died that year and reading the obituary made him wonder what his legacy to the world would be. This thought provoked him to make various wills and as per his last will and testament, he left 94 percent of his wealth (about 31 million SEK) to be used to create a series of awards which would be awarded to individuals who did the "greatest benefit to mankind" in the field of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. Though Alfred Nobel died in 1896, there was a lot of skepticism surrounding the contents of this will and it was finally approved on April 26, 1897. A private organization - The Nobel Foundation was created to manage the Nobel Prizes and came into effect on 29 June 1900.
Award Process: The awards are based on nominations and a selection process involving the committee set out for that particular award. Usually about 3000 nomination forms are sent out every year by September for the awards that would be conferred the next year. These forms are sent out to notable academicians, governments and organizations for various awards and collected back by 31 January of the year of the award. The Nobel Committee then nominates about 300 potential laureates. The nominees are neither disclosed publicly nor informed that they are being considered for the award. The nominations for a prize are later sealed for 50 years from the year they are awarded. Once the nominations are down to a select few, the Nobel Committee then prepares a report which takes into due consideration the expert opinions from the relevant fields. This list is then shortened to preliminary candidates and submitted to the institutions awarding the prize. The laureate is then selected by a majority vote of the council designated for the award. Once the decision is made, it cannot be appealed and the same is immediately made public. As per the foundation, the award in one category can be awarded only to individuals (except Peace Prize which can be awarded to organizations as well). Also, no more than three individuals can be awarded the prize. In case in one year there is no Nobel Peace Prize, the prize money is split equally to the other prizes. Also, no posthumous awards are given in Nobel Prize. However, in case a person died immediately before the award of the actual prize, the said prize would be given to the person. Also, Nobel Prize is awarded for the achievements in the domains in the preceding years.
Indians who have been awarded Nobel Prize: In total 5 Indians have received the Nobel Prize in different categories. Rabindranath Tagore became the first Indian Nobel Laureate in 1913 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Famous physicist, C.V. Raman won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the scattering of light in 1930. Mother Theresa was the next Indian to be awarded a Nobel Prize in 1979 – she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. Kailash Satyarthi became the second Indian to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 (which he shared with Malala Yousafzai). The notable economist, Amartya Sen was awarded a Nobel Prize for Economic Studies in 1998. Apart from them, there are 7 other Nobel Laureates who either have Indian origin or were residents of India, namely Har Gobind Khorana (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968), Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983), Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009), Ronald Ross (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1902), Rudyard Kipling (Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907), His Holiness – the 14th Dalai Lama (Nobel Peace Prize in 1989) and V.S Naipaul (Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001).