Nobel Prize in Physics

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The Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize.png
Awarded forOutstanding contributions for mankind in the field of Physics
Date10 December 1901;117 years ago (1901-12-10)
Location Stockholm, Sweden
Presented by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Reward(s)9 million SEK (2017) [1]
First awarded1901
Currently held by Gérard Mourou, Arthur Ashkin, Donna Strickland (2018)
Most awards John Bardeen (2)
Website nobelprize.org
Wilhelm Rontgen (1845-1923), the first recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics. Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen (1845--1923).jpg
Wilhelm Röntgen (1845–1923), the first recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The Nobel Prize in Physics (Swedish : Nobelpriset i fysik) is a yearly award given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for those who have made the most outstanding contributions for mankind in the field of physics. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others being the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Swedish language North Germanic language spoken in Sweden

Swedish is a North Germanic language spoken natively by 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden, and in parts of Finland, where it has equal legal standing with Finnish. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and to some extent with Danish, although the degree of mutual intelligibility is largely dependent on the dialect and accent of the speaker. Written Norwegian and Danish are usually more easily understood by Swedish speakers than the spoken languages, due to the differences in tone, accent and intonation. Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. It has the most speakers of the North Germanic languages. While being strongly related to its southern neighbour language German in vocabulary; the word order, grammatic system and pronunciation are vastly different.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is one of the royal academies of Sweden. Founded on June 2, 1739, it is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization which takes special responsibility for promoting the natural sciences and mathematics and strengthen their influence in society, whilst endeavouring to promote the exchange of ideas between various disciplines.

Physics Study of the fundamental properties of matter and energy

Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion and behavior through space and time, and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.

Contents

The first Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to physicist Wilhelm Röntgen in recognition of the extraordinary services he rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays (or X-rays). This award is administered by the Nobel Foundation and is widely regarded as the most prestigious award that a scientist can receive in physics. It is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death. Through 2018, a total of 209 individuals have been awarded the prize. [2]

Wilhelm Röntgen German physicist

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was a German mechanical engineer and physicist, who, on 8 November 1895, produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range known as X-rays or Röntgen rays, an achievement that earned him the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. In honour of his accomplishments, in 2004 the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) named element 111, roentgenium, a radioactive element with multiple unstable isotopes, after him.

X-ray Röntgen radiation

X-rays make up X-radiation, a form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. Most X-rays have a wavelength ranging from 0.01 to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz (3×1016 Hz to 3×1019 Hz) and energies in the range 100 eV to 100 keV. X-ray wavelengths are shorter than those of UV rays and typically longer than those of gamma rays. In many languages, X-radiation is referred to as Röntgen radiation, after the German scientist Wilhelm Röntgen, who discovered it on November 8, 1895. He named it X-radiation to signify an unknown type of radiation. Spelling of X-ray(s) in the English language includes the variants x-ray(s), xray(s), and X ray(s).

Nobel Foundation private institution managing the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes

The Nobel Foundation is a private institution founded on 29 June 1900 to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. The Foundation is based on the last will of Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.

Background

Alfred Nobel, in his last will and testament, stated that his wealth be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the "greatest benefit on mankind" in the fields of physics, chemistry, peace, physiology or medicine, and literature. [3] Though Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime, the last one was written a year before he died and was signed at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris on 27 November 1895. [4] [5] Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million Swedish kronor (US$198 million, Euro€176 million in 2016), to establish and endow the five Nobel Prizes. [6] Due to the level of skepticism surrounding the will, it was not until April 26, 1897 that it was approved by the Storting (Norwegian Parliament). [7] [8] The executors of his will were Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist, who formed the Nobel Foundation to take care of Nobel's fortune and organise the prizes.

Alfred Nobel Swedish chemist, innovator, and armaments manufacturer (1833-1896)

Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish businessman, chemist, engineer, inventor, and philanthropist.

Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with elements and compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a reaction with other substances.

Peace State of harmony characterized by lack of violent conflict and freedom from fear of violence

Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or heterogeneous groups. Throughout history leaders have used peacemaking and diplomacy to establish a certain type of behavioral restraint that has resulted in the establishment of regional peace or economic growth through various forms of agreements or peace treaties. Such behavioral restraint has often resulted in the reduction of conflicts, greater economic interactivity, and consequently substantial prosperity. The avoidance of war or violent hostility can be the result of thoughtful active listening and communication that enables greater genuine mutual understanding and therefore compromise. Leaders often benefit tremendously from the prestige of peace talks and treaties that can result in substantially enhanced popularity.

The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee who were to award the Peace Prize were appointed shortly after the will was approved. The prize-awarding organisations followed: the Karolinska Institutet on June 7, the Swedish Academy on June 9, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on June 11. [9] [10] The Nobel Foundation then reached an agreement on guidelines for how the Nobel Prize should be awarded. In 1900, the Nobel Foundation's newly created statutes were promulgated by King Oscar II. [8] [11] According to Nobel's will, The Royal Swedish Academy of sciences were to award the Prize in Physics. [11]

Oscar II of Sweden King of Sweden and Norway

Oscar II was the King of Sweden from 1872 until his death, and was also the final King of Norway from the House of Bernadotte.

Nomination and selection

Three Nobel Laureates in Physics. Front row L-R: Albert A. Michelson (1907 prizewinner), Albert Einstein (1921 prizewinner) and Robert A. Millikan (1923 prizewinner). Portrait of Albert Einstein and Others (1879-1955), Physicist.jpg
Three Nobel Laureates in Physics. Front row L-R: Albert A. Michelson (1907 prizewinner), Albert Einstein (1921 prizewinner) and Robert A. Millikan (1923 prizewinner).

A maximum of three Nobel laureates and two different works may be selected for the Nobel Prize in Physics. [12] [13] Compared with other Nobel Prizes, the nomination and selection process for the prize in Physics is long and rigorous. This is a key reason why it has grown in importance over the years to become the most important prize in Physics. [14]

The Nobel laureates are selected by the Nobel Committee for Physics, a Nobel Committee that consists of five members elected by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In the first stage that begins in September, around 3,000 people – selected university professors, Nobel Laureates in Physics and Chemistry, etc. – are sent confidential forms to nominate candidates. The completed nomination forms arrive at the Nobel Committee no later than 31 January of the following year. These nominees are scrutinized and discussed by experts who narrow it to approximately fifteen names. The committee submits a report with recommendations on the final candidates into the Academy, where, in the Physics Class, it is further discussed. The Academy then makes the final selection of the Laureates in Physics through a majority vote. [15]

Nobel Committee for Physics

The Nobel Committee for Physics is the Nobel Committee responsible for proposing laureates for the Nobel Prize for Physics. The Nobel Committee for Physics is appointed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It usually consists of Swedish professors of physics who are members of the Academy, although the Academy in principle could appoint anyone to the Committee.

The names of the nominees are never publicly announced, and neither are they told that they have been considered for the prize. Nomination records are sealed for fifty years. [16] While posthumous nominations are not permitted, awards can be made if the individual died in the months between the decision of the prize committee (typically in October) and the ceremony in December. Prior to 1974, posthumous awards were permitted if the recipient had died after being nominated. [17]

The rules for the Nobel Prize in Physics require that the significance of achievements being recognized has been "tested by time". In practice, it means that the lag between the discovery and the award is typically on the order of 20 years and can be much longer. For example, half of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar for his work on stellar structure and evolution that was done during the 1930s. As a downside of this tested-by-time rule, not all scientists live long enough for their work to be recognized. Some important scientific discoveries are never considered for a prize, as the discoverers die by the time the impact of their work is appreciated. [18] [19]

Prizes

A Physics Nobel Prize laureate earns a gold medal, a diploma bearing a citation, and a sum of money. [20]

Medals

The Nobel Prize medals, minted by Myntverket [21] in Sweden and the Mint of Norway since 1902, are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation. Each medal has an image of Alfred Nobel in left profile on the obverse. The Nobel Prize medals for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature have identical obverses, showing the image of Alfred Nobel and the years of his birth and death (1833–1896). Nobel's portrait also appears on the obverse of the Nobel Peace Prize medal and the Medal for the Prize in Economics, but with a slightly different design. [22] [23] The image on the reverse of a medal varies according to the institution awarding the prize. The reverse sides of the Nobel Prize medals for Chemistry and Physics share the same design of Nature, as a Goddess, whose veil is held up by the Genius of Science. These medals and the ones for Physiology/Medicine and Literature were designed by Erik Lindberg in 1902. [24]

Diplomas

1903 Nobel Prize diploma, awarded to Marie Curie and Pierre Curie Nobel Pierre et Marie Curie 1.jpg
1903 Nobel Prize diploma, awarded to Marie Curie and Pierre Curie

Nobel laureates receive a diploma directly from the hands of the King of Sweden. Each diploma is uniquely designed by the prize-awarding institutions for the laureate that receives it. [25] The diploma contains a picture and text which states the name of the laureate and normally a citation of why they received the prize. [25]

Award money

At the awards ceremony, the laureate is given a document indicating the award sum. The amount of the cash award may differ from year to year, based on the funding available from the Nobel Foundation. For example, in 2009 the total cash awarded was 10 million SEK (US$1.4 million), [26] but in 2012, the amount was 8 million Swedish Kronor, or US$1.1 million. [27] If there are two laureates in a particular category, the award grant is divided equally between the recipients, but if there are three, the awarding committee may opt to divide the grant equally, or award half to one recipient and a quarter to each of the two others. [28] [29] [30] [31]

Ceremony

The committee and institution serving as the selection board for the prize typically announce the names of the laureates in October. The prize is then awarded at formal ceremonies held annually in Stockholm Concert Hall on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death. The laureates receive a diploma, a medal and a document confirming the prize amount. [32]

See also

Related Research Articles

Nobel Prize Set of 5 annual international awards, primarily established in 1864 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine One of five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, administered by the Nobel Foundation, is awarded yearly for outstanding discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine. It is one of five Nobel Prizes established in his will in 1895 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Nobel was interested in experimental physiology and wanted to establish a prize for scientific progress through laboratory discoveries. The Nobel Prize is presented at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death, along with a diploma and a certificate for the monetary award. The front side of the medal displays the same profile of Alfred Nobel depicted on the medals for Physics, Chemistry, and Literature. The reverse side is unique to this medal. The most recent Nobel prize was announced by Karolinska Institute on 1 October 2018, and has been awarded to American James P. Allison and Japanese Tasuku Honjo – for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.

Nobel Prize in Literature One of the five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Literature is a Swedish literature prize that is awarded annually, since 1901, to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction". Though individual works are sometimes cited as being particularly noteworthy, the award is based on an author's body of work as a whole. The Swedish Academy decides who, if anyone, will receive the prize. The academy announces the name of the laureate in early October. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895. On some occasions the award has been postponed to the following year. It was not awarded in 2018, but two names will be awarded in 2019.

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics, is an award for outstanding contributions to the field of economics, and generally regarded as the most prestigious award for that field. The award's official name is The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry One of the five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine. This award is administered by the Nobel Foundation, and awarded by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on proposal of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry which consists of five members elected by Academy. The award is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death.

References

Citations

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    After Nobel’s death, the Nobel Foundation was set up to carry out the provisions of his will and to administer his funds. In his will, he had stipulated that four different institutions—three Swedish and one Norwegian—should award the prizes. From Stockholm, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences confers the prizes for physics, chemistry, and economics, the Karolinska Institute confers the prize for physiology or medicine, and the Swedish Academy confers the prize for literature. The Norwegian Nobel Committee based in Oslo confers the prize for peace. The Nobel Foundation is the legal owner and functional administrator of the funds and serves as the joint administrative body of the prize-awarding institutions, but it is not concerned with the prize deliberations or decisions, which rest exclusively with the four institutions.
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