Esteem, money and mystery: 5 things to know about the Nobels

In terms of esteem and recognition, it’s always a good year to win a Nobel Prize. In terms of money, 2017 is better than the past two years.

The Nobel Prize announcements begin Monday with the medicine award and each prize this year is worth 9 million kronor ($1.1 million). In the previous five years, the amount was 8 million kronor — $930,000 at last year’s exchange rate.

The physics award will be announced Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday and the Peace Prize on Friday. The prize for literature is always announced on a Thursday but the Swedish Academy waits until three days before to say which Thursday. The economics prize, which is, strictly speaking, not a Nobel, will be announced on Oct. 9.

Here are five things to know about the prestigious prizes created by 19th-century Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.



Even if there’s someone you’d like to win a Nobel, chances are good that you can’t put their name in the running.

The Nobel Peace prize casts its net the widest for nominees — national legislators, ministers and heads of state can make nominations, along with university professors in several disciplines, former laureates and some others. There were 318 nominees for this year’s prize, down from last year’s all-time high of 376.

For the literature prize, the Swedish Academy sends invitations to qualified nominators, including literature and linguistics professors and members of national academies.

The science prize nominations are by invitation only to a more restricted field. Professors from appropriate departments at Nordic universities are included, as are professors from at least six other institutions worldwide. The prize-awarding institutions can approach other experts as they see fit.



Ask Nobel judges about the front-runners for this year’s awards and they will clam up as if they’re protecting secret nuclear codes.

The Nobel statutes prohibit them from…

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