Friday November 27, 2020 Smile of the Day: The Nobel Prize

On this Day:

Albert Nobel’s prize, The Nobel Prize, was first established this day.  

The Nobel Prize is not a single prize, but five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel’s 1895 will, are awarded “to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind”.

Nobel Prizes are awarded in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace (Nobel called this prize “fellowship among nations”). Nobel prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards available in their respective fields.

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and industrialist most famously known for the invention of dynamite. He died in 1896. In his will, he bequeathed all of his “remaining realisable assets” to be used to establish five prizes which became known as “Nobel Prizes”. Nobel Prizes were first awarded in 1901. In 1968, a sixth prize was established in the field of Economic Sciences; however, it is not considered a “Nobel Prize” but a “Nobel Memorial Prize”.

The prize ceremonies take place annually. Each recipient (known as a “laureate”) receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a monetary award. In 2020, the Nobel Prize monetary award is 10,000,000 SEK, or US$1,145,000, or €968,000, or £880,000. A prize may not be shared among more than three individuals, although the Nobel Peace Prize can be awarded to organizations of more than three people. Although Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it the prize is presented.

The Nobel Prizes, beginning in 1901 and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, beginning in 1969, have been awarded 603 times to 962 people and 25 organizations. Forty-two laureates have received more than one Nobel Prize. (per Wikipedia)

Now, it is a non-trivial point that Albert Nobel did not establish a prize in the area of mathematics. Not to be left out of the Big Award movement, mathematicians of the world decided to fight back (mathematicians reached their limit!). At the 1924 International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Toronto, a resolution was adopted that at each ICM, two gold medals should be awarded to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement. These prizes are called the Fields medal.

There has been much speculation why Alfred did not establish a Nobel Prize in Mathematics. One story (much disputed) was his mistress had an affair with a famous mathematician, Gosta Mittag-Leffler.  

However a less scandalous view is that he simply didn’t like math.

First, a Story:

I wanted to start a prize winning hide-and-seek team…… But good players are hard to find.

Second, a Song:

The only songwriter to win a Nobel Prize was Bob Dylan. 

Bob received The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016.  It was stated that the Prize motivation was: “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in popular culture for more than 50 years.

He has sold more than 100 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, ten Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award. Dylan has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Pulitzer Prize Board in 2008 awarded him a special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power” 
Here is Bob Dylan performing “Things have Changed”.  I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“The highest prize in a world of men is the most beautiful woman available on your arm and living there in her heart loyal to you.” – Norman Mailer

Have a great day!

© 2020 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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