5 things to know about the Nobel Prizes

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
How To Win A Nobel Prize:  Epic How To

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- The beginning of October means Nobel Prize time, when committees in Stockholm and Oslo announce the winners of what many consider the most prestigious awards in the world.

This year's Nobel season kicks off Monday with the medicine award being announced for the 106th time.

Daily announcements will follow during the week with physics Tuesday, chemistry Wednesday and probably, though the date has not been confirmed, literature on Thursday. The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and, finally, the economics award on Oct. 12.

Each prize is worth 8 million Swedish kronor ($960,000) and will be handed out with a diploma and gold medal on Dec. 10.

More from the 2014 Nobel Prize in the gallery below:

2014 Nobel Prizes
See Gallery
5 things to know about the Nobel Prizes
Joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine professor John O'Keefe, a dual U.S. and British citizen, speaks as he is interviewed by The Associated Press in an office he uses at the University College London (UCL), in London, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. The U.S.-British scientist and a Norwegian husband-and-wife research team won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for discovering the brain's navigation system — the inner GPS that helps us find our way in the world — a revelation that one day could help those with Alzheimer's. The research by John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser represents a "paradigm shift" in neuroscience that could help researchers understand the sometimes severe spatial memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease, the Nobel Assembly said. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
FILE This is a 2008 file photo of Norwegian scientists May-Britt and Edvard Moser pictured when they received the Fernstrom award in 2008. The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm on Monday Oct. 6, 2014 announced that the Nobel l Prize for Medicine 2014 was awarded to U.S.-British John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser "for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain". (AP Photo / Drago Prvulovic / TT, File) SWEDEN OUT
NAGOYA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 10: Hiroshi Amano and Isamu Akasaki shake hands in the press conference at Nagoya University on October 10, 2014 in Nagoya, Japan. Professor Amano invented the efficient blue light-emitting diodes, which enable bright and energy-saving white light sources with Shuji Nakamura of University of California, Santa Barbara and Isamu Akasaki of Meijyo University, Japan. (Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images)
Scientist Shuji Nakamura, a Japanese-born American professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, talks to a reporter before a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Santa Barbara, Calif. Nakamura and two Japanese scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for inventing blue light-emitting diodes, a breakthrough that has spurred the development of LED technology to light up homes, computer screens and smartphones worldwide. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Eric Betzig from the U.S. talks to journalists in front of the Helmholtz Institute in Neuherberg near Munich, southern Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. U.S. scientists Betzig and William E. Moerner and German scientist Stefan Hell won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing ways to dramatically improve the resolution of optical microscopes. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
German winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry Stefan Hell gestures at a small party with his colleagues in Goettingen, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. Hell shares the prize with US-Americans Eric Betzig and William E. Moerner for developing ways to dramatically improve the resolution of optical microscopes. (AP Photo/dpa, Swen Pfoertner)
William Moerner listens to a question during an interview at a hotel in Recife, Brazil, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. Moerner is one of three recipients who shares this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry for giving microscopes much sharper vision than was thought possible, letting scientists peer into living cells with unprecedented detail to seek the roots of disease. (AP Photo/Demetrio Araujo)
French novelist Patrick Modiano gestures during a press conference at his publishing house in Paris, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Patrick Modiano, who has made a lifelong study of the Nazi occupation and its effects on his country, won the 2014 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday for what one academic called "crystal clear and resonant" prose. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Malala Yousafzai speaks during a media conference at the Library of Birmingham, in Birmingham, England, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, after she was named as winner of The Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize 2014, is awarded jointly to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India, for risking their lives to fight for children’s rights. Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two-years ago in Pakistan for insisting that girls have the right to an education. Birmingham, England, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi gestures as he addresses the media at his office in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Satyarthi of India jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, for risking their lives to fight for children's rights. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Here are five other things to know about the coveted prizes:


The prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace were established by the will of Alfred Nobel, a wealthy Swedish industrialist and the inventor of dynamite. The first awards were handed out in 1901, five years after Nobel's death.

The economics award -- officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel -- wasn't created by Nobel, but 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 deliberations 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.

The peace prize committee has accused its former secretary of breaching the code of silence in a new book, which 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.

Though the nominations are kept secret for 50 years, those who submit them sometimes announce their suggestions publicly, particularly 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 while the other awards are handed out in Sweden. That's how Alfred Nobel wanted it.

His exact reasons are unclear but during his lifetime Sweden and Norway were joined in a union, which was absolved 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.


Patience, for one. Scientists often have to wait decades to have their work recognized by the Nobel judges, who want to make sure that any breakthrough withstands the test of time.

That's a departure from Nobel's will, which 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."

See President Obama receive a prize in 2009:

Obama - 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
See Gallery
5 things to know about the Nobel Prizes
File - President Barack Obama walks down the Colonnade from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, in this Oct. 5, 2009 file photo, to make remarks on health care reform in the Rose Garden. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said Friday Oct. 9, 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, with pictures of Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2009 Barack Obama at The Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo Friday, Oct 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Torbjorn Gronning)
US President Barack Obama works in the Oval office in White House in Washington, DC, on October 9, 2009. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize just nine months into his term in office, prompting world leaders to urge him to use the accolade to step up efforts for global peace. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama speaks about winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, Friday, Oct. 9, 2009, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Archbishop Desmond Tutu reacts during a press conference held to congratulate U.S. President Barack Obama in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, Oct. 9, 2009. President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
A Kenyan reads the local daily newspaper showing the headlines in Nairobi Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009 following the announcement Friday awarding US President Obama the Nobel peace prize for 2009. The announcement was met with joy in Kenya, which has a special regard for Obama, the son of a Kenyan economist and an American anthropologist. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
Nobel Peace Prize laureate, US President Barack Obama (C) and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive for the Nobel Peace prize award ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo on December 10, 2009. The president faces a tricky task of reconciling the revered honor with his decision just last week to send 30,000 troops to escalate the war in Afghanistan, a move which tripled the US force there since he took office. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama poses with his medal and diploma at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at City Hall in Oslo, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Odd Andersen)
President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama waves after delivering his Nobel lecture at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at City Hall in Oslo, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009. Next to Obama is Nobel Committee member Kaci Kullmann Five.(AP Photo/John McConnico)
President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama poses with his medal and diploma alongside Nobel committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at City Hall in Oslo, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/John McConnico)
A couple display placards congratulating US President Barack Obama on winning Nobel Peace Prize outside the White House in Washington, DC, on October 9, 2009. Awarding Obama the Nobel Peace Prize so soon after taking office is a 'controversial' decision aimed at encouraging him to achieve his goals, analysts said. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

More from AOL.com:
Manila has the worst traffic in the world
Collapsing volcanoes could produce megatsunamis
Thousands attend funerals of Iranians killed in hajj crush

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners