The round of winners opens a new edition of the Nobel Prize marked by the pandemic

The Nobel laureates open this Monday with the usual round of winners a new edition marked by the coronavirus pandemic, which will once again reduce to a minimum, like last year, the award ceremony, the central point of the program to be held within three months.

Between October 4 and 11, the name of the winners will be known in the six categories into which the most prestigious awards are divided: Medicine or Physiology, Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Peace and Economics.

Although the process of selecting and announcing the winners will follow the usual pattern, the same will not happen with their delivery: the Nobel Foundation announced a couple of weeks ago that the December 10 ceremony will have a reduced format and that the awards will be delivered in the countries of origin or residence of the distinguished ones.

It remains to be seen whether the Norwegian Nobel Committee will do the same with the Peace Prize, which is awarded and awarded in Oslo at the express wish of the creator of the centenary awards, the Swedish magnate Alfred Nobel, since Norway was part of the Kingdom of Sweden.

Nobel (1833-1896) became a millionaire with his inventions, but the consequences of the most famous, dynamite, convinced him to bequeath his fortune to create prizes that recognized achievements in the fields of knowledge, letters and the struggle for freedom. peace.

Thus, he provided in his will that his money be invested in real estate and insurance securities, and that the interests be divided into five equal parts to reward personalities in as many fields, regardless of their nationality.

Six decades later, the Bank of Sweden instituted a sixth Nobel Prize, that of Economics, which has been awarded since 1969.

All Nobel laureates follow a similar election process: scientists, academics or university professors nominate their candidates and the different Nobel committees establish several screens to choose the winner or winners, up to three per prize.

And they have the same financial endowment, this year of 10 million Swedish crowns (980,000 euros, 1.1 million dollars).


The two Nobel Prize winners that generate the most expectation each year, Literature and Peace, are presented this time without clear favorites in the previous pools.

Thus, for the Literature class there appear classics of speculations in recent years such as the Japanese Haruki Murakami, the Kenyan Ngugi Wa Thiongo and the Guadeloupean Maryse Condé.

Among those who succeed the American poet Louis Glück in the prize winners there are also other lyricists such as the Canadian Anne Carson, her compatriot the narrator Margaret Atwood and the Russian novelist Lyudmila Ulitskaya.

The pools for the Nobel Peace Prize, which last year awarded the United Nations World Food Program, are dominated by candidates related to the defense of journalists, the environment and health issues.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg are some of the names that ring to win this prestigious award. .


Since the first edition of the prizes was failed in 1901, the Nobel – who have been deserted on 49 occasions – have distinguished 930 people and 25 organizations, some several times, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the American biochemist Linus Pauling or the scientist Marie Curie.

Curie won Physics in 1903, shared with her husband Pierre and Henri Becquerel, and Chemistry alone in 1911, a rarity in the list of Nobel laureates, in which women nevertheless play a marginal role.

Only 6% of the total winners are women (57 in total), and almost half of them (28) have been distinguished in the last two decades.

In the last edition there were four winners: the American Andrea Ghez (Physics), her compatriot Jennifer A. Doudna and the French Emmanuelle Charpentier (Chemistry), and the American Louise Glück (Literature).

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The round of winners opens a new edition of the Nobel Prize marked by the pandemic

Hank Gilbert