Nobel Prize: The Legacy of Alfred Nobel | History, Winners and Interesting Facts

2022-10-10 | Priyanka Chaudhary


The Nobel Prize is awarded as an execution of the last will and testament of the great Alfred Nobel, who was an inventor, entrepreneur, scientist and businessman with an interest in poetry and drama, born in Stockholm, Sweden on October 21, 1833.

History of Nobel Prize

As per his will, much of his wealth has been left for establishing and funding the prize that honours men and women around the world for their outstanding contribution as the “greatest benefit to mankind” in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace.

As per the will of Alfred Nobel, “The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows:

  • One part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics.
  • One part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement.
  • One part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine.
  • One part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.
  • One part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Alfred Nobel’s will was executed by two young engineers, Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist. It took these men four years to finally execute the will of Alfred Nobel. They set-up the Nobel Foundation as a society to manage the finances left by Nobel for this purpose and to collaborate with the Prize-Awarding Institutions.

In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank) established the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize, thus adding another category to the categories of Nobel Prizes.

Nobel Prize Awarding Institutions

The Prize- Awarding Institutions are:




The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.


The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.

Physiology or Medicine

Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The Swedish Academy, Stockholm, Sweden.


Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget).

Economic Sciences

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.


Nobel Prize Ceremony

The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony is held on the 10th December, where the awardees receive three things:

  • Nobel diploma
  • Nobel Medal
  • Document confirming the Nobel Prize amount

Interesting Facts about Nobel Prize

Some Interesting facts about the Nobel Prize:

  • The Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences have been awarded 590 times between 1901 and 2018.
  • Maximum awards have been conferred in the category of Physics.
  • Maximum Laureates have been in the category of Medicine.
  • In the category of Literature, in most cases, the award has not been shared.
  • The Award has been shared by two or three Laureates, mostly in the category of Chemistry.
  • The youngest Nobel Peace awardee is Malala Yousafzai, in the category of Peace.
  • The oldest recipient of the Nobel Prize is John B. Goodenough, who received Nobel prize in the Physics category.
  • Women have received the Nobel Prize 52 times between 1901 and 2018.

List of First Nobel Laureates

List of the very first Nobel Laureates, in the year 1901 and the year 1969 for Prize in Economic Sciences:


Name and Work Done


Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen: discovery of the rays subsequently named after him.


Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff: discovery of the laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure in solutions.

Physiology or Medicine

Emil Adolf von Behring: work on serum therapy, especially its application against diphtheria.


Sully Prudhomme: for his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect.


Jean Henry Dunant: for the formation of the Red Cross Society.


Frédéric Passy: for his outstanding contribution to the international peace movement.

Economic Sciences

Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen: developing and applying dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes.

Nobel Prize 2022 Winners




Nobel Peace Prize 2022

Ales Bialiatski

“They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights abuses and the abuse of power.”

Russian human rights organisation “Memorial”

Ukrainian human rights organisation “Center for Civil Liberties”

Nobel Prize in Literature 2022

Annie Ernaux

“For the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory”

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022

Barry Sharpless

“They brought chemistry into the era of functionalism and laid the foundations of click chemistry.”

Morten Meldal

Carolyn Bertozzi

“She took click chemistry to a new dimension and began using it to map cells.”

Nobel Prize in Physics 2022

Alain Aspect

"For experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violations of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science"

John Clauser

Anton Zeilinger

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2022

Svante Pääbo

“For his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution”

Nobel Prize in Economics 2022 Ben Bernanke, Douglas Diamond and Philip Dybvig "For research on banks and financial crisis”

Nobel Prize 2021 Winners




Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2021

David Julius

“For their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch”

Ardem Patapoutian

Nobel Prize in Physics 2021

Syukuro Manabe

“For the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”

Klaus Hasselmann

Giorgio Parisi

“For the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales”

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021

Benjamin List

“For the development of asymmetric organocatalysis”

David W.C. MacMillan

Nobel Prize in Literature 2021

Abdulrazak Gurnah

“For his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents”

Nobel Peace Prize 2021

Maria Ressa

“For their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”

Dmitry Muratov

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2021

David Card

“For his empirical contributions to labour economics”

Joshua D. Angrist

“For their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships”

Guido W. Imbens

Nobel Prize 2020 Laureates

2020 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to American writer Lousie Glück for “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

2020 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to World Food Programme for its efforts to provide food assistance in areas of conflict. World Food Programme was formed in 1961 and is the world's largest humanitarian organization that focuses on hunger and food security. 

Nobel Prize 2019 Laureates

Nobel Prizes for the year 2019 are currently being announced. The Nobel Prize Announcements commenced on 07th October 2019 and would conclude on 14th October 2019.

Nobel Prizes have so far been announced for the categories of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine and Literature. The announcements for the remaining categories are awaited.

The 2019 Nobel Prize for the category of Physics has been awarded in sharing to:

  • James Peebles for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology.


  • Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.


The 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been jointly awarded to:

  • John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries, which will help create a wireless and fossil-fuel-free society.


The 2019 Nobel Prize in the category of Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to:

  • William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.


The 2019 and 2018 Nobel Award in Literature is being conferred to:

  • 2018: Polish author Olga Tokarczuk
  • 2019: Austrian author Peter Handke

Nobel Prize 2019 Literature Winner

The 2019 Nobel Prize for Peace:

The 2019 Nobel Prize for Peace has been conferred upon Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

Nobel Prize for Peace 2019 Winners

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences 2019:

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2019 has been awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.

Economic Sciences Sviriges Riksbank Prize 2019

Nobel Prize 2018 Laureates

The Nobel Prize in each category including Economic Sciences was last awarded to:



Name and Work Done



Arthur Ashkin: for the discovery of optical tweezers and their application to biological systems.


Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland: for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.



Frances H. Arnold: for the directed evolution of enzymes


George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter: phage display of peptides and antibodies.

Physiology or Medicine


James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo: discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.



Kazuo Ishiguro: for his novels of great emotional force, that has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.



Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad: efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict

Economic Sciences


William D. Nordhaus: for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Nobel Prize

Who won Nobel Peace Prize in 2022?

Center for Civil Liberties, Memorial and Belarusian human rights activist Ales Byalyatski were awarded Nobel Peace Prize 2022.

Who is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner?

Malala Yousafzai (17 years) is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner (2014).

Who is the oldest Nobel Prize winners in Physics?

Arthur Ashkin (96) is the oldest Nobel Prize winner in Physics (2018).

How many females have been awarded Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2021?

Between 1901 and 2021, Nobel Prize has been awarded 58 times to females.

Who has won the Nobel Peace Prize three times?

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been awarded Nobel Peace Prize three times.

Priyanka Chaudhary

Joined On : 01-Jan-19

Priyanka is an expert in General Awareness and has experience of over 7 years of teaching various subjects of General Awareness and Current Affairs.



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