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Nobel Prize Facts

Internationally reputed prize, awarded in six subject areas

  • Alfred Nobel, in his last will and testament, written on 27 November 1895, gave the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes.
  • Nobel signed the will at the Swedish Club in Paris before four witnesses because he distrusted lawyers.
  • Nobel's funds are given to outstanding contributors of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace - the Nobel Prizes.
  • Economics was added as the sixth subject later after Sveriges Riksbank announced a prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.
  • The first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1901. The Prize in Economic Sciences was first presented in 1969.
  • Each Nobel Prize constitutes a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money.
  • The Peace Prize was the most - never awarded prize - amongst the Nobel Prize subjects.
  • The youngest Nobel Prize laureate is Lawrence Bragg, who was just 25 at the time of receiving the prize. He received the prize along with his father.
  • Leonid Hurwicz, aged 90 years, was the oldest recipient of Nobel Prize. He received the prize in Economic Sciences.
  • Three Nobel Laureates were under arrest at the time of being awarded the prize - Carl von Ossietzky, Aung San Suu Kyi and Liu Xiaobo
  • Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho is the only Peace Prize Laureate who declined to accept the prize.
  • Dag Hammarskjöld is the only Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to receive the prize posthumously.
  • Mahatma Gandhi was declined the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948 on the grounds that "there was no suitable living candidate”.
  • Adolf Hitler forced three German Nobel Laureates, Richard Kuhn, Adolf Butenandt and Gerhard Domagk not to accept the Prize. Soviet Union authorities coerced Boris Pasternak to decline the already accepted prize.
  • Leo Tolstoy was the first great author to be rejected by the Nobel Committee in the first year.
  • Jean Paul Sartre refused the prize for literature in 1964 for fear it would turn him into an institution.
  • Nobel Prize in Literature was never shared by three laureates at a time.
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