Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

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The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences or Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden. The Academy is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization which acts to promote the sciences, primarily the natural sciences and mathematics.The Academy was founded on 2...

 to scientists in the various fields of chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

. It is one of the five Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

s established by the will of Alfred Nobel
Alfred Nobel
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. He is the inventor of dynamite. Nobel also owned Bofors, which he had redirected from its previous role as primarily an iron and steel producer to a major manufacturer of cannon and other armaments...

 in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

, literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

, peace
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

, and physiology or medicine
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine administered by the Nobel Foundation, is awarded once a year for outstanding discoveries in the field of life science and medicine. It is one of five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, in his will...

. This award is administered by the Nobel Foundation
Nobel Foundation
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....

 and awarded by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on proposal of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry
Nobel Committee for Chemistry
The Nobel Committee for Chemistry is the Nobel Committee responsible for proposing laureates for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The Nobel Committee for Chemistry is appointed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences...

 which consists of five members elected by Academy. The award is presented in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 at an annual ceremony on December 10, the anniversary
Anniversary
An anniversary is a day that commemorates or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same day of the year as the initial event. For example, the first event is the initial occurrence or, if planned, the inaugural of the event. One year later would be the first anniversary of that event...

 of Nobel's death. The first Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded in 1901 to Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff
Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff
Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, Jr. was a Dutch physical and organic chemist and the first winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry. He is best known for his discoveries in chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, osmotic pressure, and stereochemistry...

, of the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, "for his discovery of the laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure
Osmotic pressure
Osmotic pressure is the pressure which needs to be applied to a solution to prevent the inward flow of water across a semipermeable membrane....

 in solutions." The 2010 Nobel Prize was awarded to Richard F. Heck
Richard F. Heck
Richard Fred Heck is an American chemist noted for the discovery and development of the Heck reaction, which uses palladium to catalyze organic chemical reactions that couple aryl halides with alkenes....

, Ei-ichi Negishi
Ei-ichi Negishi
is a Japanese chemist who has spent most of his career at Purdue University, United States. He is best known for his discovery of the Negishi coupling. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for palladium catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis" jointly with Richard F. Heck and...

 and Akira Suzuki
Akira Suzuki (chemist)
is a Japanese chemist and Nobel Prize Laureate , who first published the Suzuki reaction, the organic reaction of an aryl- or vinyl-boronic acid with an aryl- or vinyl-halide catalyzed by a palladium complex, in 1979.-Life:...

 for their work in palladium-catalyzed coupling reactions in organic synthesis.

Background


Alfred Nobel
Alfred Nobel
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. He is the inventor of dynamite. Nobel also owned Bofors, which he had redirected from its previous role as primarily an iron and steel producer to a major manufacturer of cannon and other armaments...

 stipulated in his last will and testament that his money be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the "greatest benefit on mankind" in physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

, physiology
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

 or medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, and literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

. Though Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime, the last was written a little over a year before he died, and signed at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 on 27 November 1895. Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million Swedish kronor
Swedish krona
The krona has been the currency of Sweden since 1873. Both the ISO code "SEK" and currency sign "kr" are in common use; the former precedes or follows the value, the latter usually follows it, but especially in the past, it sometimes preceded the value...

 (US$186 million in 2008), to establish and endow the five Nobel Prizes. 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). The executors of his will were Ragnar Sohlman
Ragnar Sohlman
Ragnar Sohlman was a Swedish chemical engineer, manager, civil servant, and creator of the Nobel Foundation.- Biography :...

 and Rudolf Lilljequist, who formed the Nobel Foundation to take care of Nobel's fortune and organise the prizes.

The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that 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. 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 statute
Statute
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

s were promulgated by King Oscar II
Oscar II of Sweden
Oscar II , baptised Oscar Fredrik was King of Sweden from 1872 until his death and King of Norway from 1872 until 1905. The third son of King Oscar I of Sweden and Josephine of Leuchtenberg, he was a descendant of Gustav I of Sweden through his mother.-Early life:At his birth in Stockholm, Oscar...

. According to Nobel's will, The Royal Swedish Academy of sciences were to award the Prize in Chemistry.

Award 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 on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel
Alfred Nobel
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. He is the inventor of dynamite. Nobel also owned Bofors, which he had redirected from its previous role as primarily an iron and steel producer to a major manufacturer of cannon and other armaments...

's death. "The highlight of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm is when each Nobel Laureate steps forward to receive the prize from the hands of His Majesty the King of Sweden. The Nobel Laureate receives three things: a diploma, a medal and a document confirming the prize amount" ("What the Nobel Laureates Receive"). Later the Nobel Banquet is held in Stockholm City Hall
Stockholm City Hall
Stockholm City Hall is the building of the Municipal Council for the City of Stockholm in Sweden. It stands on the eastern tip of Kungsholmen island, next to Riddarfjärden's northern shore and facing the islands of Riddarholmen and Södermalm. It houses offices and conference rooms as well as...

.

A maximum of three laureates and two different works may be selected. The award can be given to a maximum of three recipients per year. It consists of a gold medal, a diploma, and a cash grant.

Nomination and selection



Compared with some other prizes, the Nobel Prize nomination and selection process is long and rigorous, a key reason why it has become the most important prize in chemistry.

The Nobel Laureates in chemistry are selected by a committee that consists of five members elected by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In its first stage, several thousand people are asked to nominate candidates. These names are scrutinized and discussed by experts until only the winners remain. This slow and thorough process, is arguably what gives the prize its importance.

Forms, which amount to a personal and exclusive invitation, are sent to about three thousand selected individuals to invite them to submit nominations. 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. In practice some nominees do become known. It is also common for publicists to make such a claim, founded or not.

The nominations are screened by committee, and a list is produced of approximately two hundred preliminary candidates. This list is forwarded to selected experts in the field. They remove all but approximately fifteen names. The committee submits a report with recommendations to the appropriate institution.

While posthumous nominations are not permitted, awards can occur if the individual died in the months between the nomination and the decision of the prize committee.

The award in chemistry requires the significance of achievements being recognized is "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. As a downside of this approach, 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 may have died by the time the impact of their work is realized. For example, the contributions of Rosalind Franklin
Rosalind Franklin
Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer who made critical contributions to the understanding of the fine molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal and graphite...

 in discovering the structure of DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

: her x-ray crystallography
X-ray crystallography
X-ray crystallography is a method of determining the arrangement of atoms within a crystal, in which a beam of X-rays strikes a crystal and causes the beam of light to spread into many specific directions. From the angles and intensities of these diffracted beams, a crystallographer can produce a...

 citing the shape of DNA as a helix, were not realized until after her death, and the recipients of the prize were Watson
James D. Watson
James Dewey Watson is an American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist, best known as one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick...

, Crick
Francis Crick
Francis Harry Compton Crick OM FRS was an English molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist, and most noted for being one of two co-discoverers of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953, together with James D. Watson...

, and Wilkins
Maurice Wilkins
Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins CBE FRS was a New Zealand-born English physicist and molecular biologist, and Nobel Laureate whose research contributed to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction, and to the development of radar...

.

Prizes



A Chemistry Nobel Prize laureate earns a gold medal
Gold medal
A gold medal is typically the medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloying in its manufacture...

, a diploma
Diploma
A diploma is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as a university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study or confers an academic degree. In countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, the word diploma refers to...

 bearing a citation
Citation
Broadly, a citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source . More precisely, a citation is an abbreviated alphanumeric expression Broadly, a citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source (not always the original source). More precisely, a citation is an abbreviated...

, and a sum of money. The amount of money awarded depends on the income of the Nobel Foundation that year. If a prize is awarded to more than one laureate, the money is either split evenly among them or, for three laureates, it may be divided into a half and two quarters.

Nobel Prize Medals


The Nobel Prize medals, minted by Myntverket
Myntverket
Myntverket is a private Swedish company that produces coins and medals, most notably the Swedish national coins and the Nobel Prize medals. As of 2008, Swedish coins are now minted by Myntverket's parent company, Mint of Finland Ltd in Helsinki, Finland, ending a 1012 year history of minting...

 in Sweden and the Mint of Norway since 1902, are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation. Each medal feature an image of Alfred Nobel in left profile on the obverse (front side of the medal). 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. 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.

Nobel Prize Diplomas


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. The Diploma contains a picture and text which states the name of the laureate and normally a citation of why they received the prize. No Nobel Peace Prize has ever had a citation on its diplomas.

Award Money


The laureate is also given a sum of money when they receive the Nobel Prize, in the form of a document confirming the amount awarded; in 2009 the monetary award was 10 million SEK (US$1.4 million). The amount of prize money may differ depending on how much money the Nobel Foundation
Nobel Foundation
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....

 can award that year. If there are two winners in a particular category, the award grant is divided equally between the recipients. If there are three, the awarding committee has the option of dividing the grant equally, or awarding one-half to one recipient and one-quarter to each of the others.

See also

  • Nobel laureates by country
    Nobel laureates by country
    Laureates of the Nobel Prize listed by country. Listings for Economics refer to the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. The Nobel prize has been awarded 853 times, of which 23 awards were to organizations....

  • Evolution of Nobel Prizes by country
  • Wolf Prize in Chemistry
    Wolf Prize in Chemistry
    The Wolf Prize in Chemistry is awarded once a year by the Wolf Foundation in Israel. It is one of the six Wolf Prizes established by the Foundation and awarded since 1978; the others are in Agriculture, Mathematics, Medicine, Physics and Arts.-Laureates:...

  • Priestley Medal
    Priestley Medal
    The Priestley Medal is the highest honor conferred by the American Chemical Society and is awarded for distinguished service in the field of chemistry. Established in 1922, the award is named after Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen who immigrated to the United States of America in 1794...

  • Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize
    Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize
    Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for Biology or Biochemistry is an annual prize awarded by Columbia University to a researcher or group of researchers that have made an outstanding contribution in basic research in the fields of biology or biochemistry....


External links