Friday, May 30, 2008
12 Things You May Not Know About the Nobel Prizes
It's Fun Friday -- time for some fun for the weekend. Enjoy today's post and I'll see you back here on Monday with more philatelic news and notes.
Sweden was home to Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and other explosives. He left most of his fortune to endow the annual Nobel Prize awards in the disciplines of physics, chemistry, literature, physiology or medicine, and peace.
Sweden has been a prolific issuer of stamps related to Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prizes. In 2001, Sweden commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first Nobel Prizes awarded by issuing stamps depicting Nobel and ...view middle of the document...
2. Nomination records are sealed for fifty years, and except for "leaks" in the process, the nominees are not publicly acknowledged. Agents and publicists will often tout a person's nomination, but until the records are unsealed fifty years later, there is no way to confirm or deny this.
In a related story, I've been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the past several years. :)
3. Nominations for the Nobel Prizes can only be made for living persons. However, should a person die after their nomination, they can still be awarded a Nobel Prize. This has occurred two times, most recently in 1961 when Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously, after dying in a plane crash in Africa.
4. Provided that the individual is living at the time of the nomination, anyone can be nominated. Incredulously, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Stalin were all nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!
5. Amazingly, the person probably most likely to have deserved the Nobel Peace Prize was never awarded one. Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi, Indian leader who advocated non-violence in the struggle for Indian independence from colonial rule, never won the award. He was nominated five times, but failed each time. He was assassinated just two days before the nominations for the 1948 prize were due, which, since he was deceased, disqualified him from the nomination and, therefore, the prize.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee considered selecting Gandhi for the award in spite of the rules, but because he left no legal heirs, they were not sure of who to award the prize to. Instead, the committee elected to withhold the award that year, stating that "there was no suitable living candidate" for the award, a clear reference to the recently-deceased Gandhi.
6. Winning a Nobel Prize will bring lasting fame throughout one's lifetime. Pity poor William Vickrey, who, just 3 days after being selected for the 1996 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, was found slumped over the steering wheel of his...