October brings along with it the Nobel Prize season. Over the course of six days, six winners will be announced in the fields of literature, peace, Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or medicine and Economic Sciences. 

These men and women will be selected from the world’s most elite set of accomplished individuals in their respective fields. They have been awarded since 1901, five years after the death of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, who wrote into his will that all his “remaining realisable assets” be used to establish the prizes.

Winning a Nobel Prize is a matter of great prestige as it recognises significant contributions made by those in the six categories. Of course, the gold medal and ~$900,000 make it even sweeter. But what does it take to win one?

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Primarily, patience. For a person to even be nominated for a Prize usually means they have to wait decades for their work to be recognized by the judges, who must ensure that the breakthroughs will stand the test of time. Additionally, the work must have significantly advance human knowledge. 

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It is, however, a departure from Nobel’s original will, which stated that the award must be given to those who “during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.” 

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Nobel had written in his will that the prize should be awarded to someone who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Nominations for the Nobel Prize can come from thousands of people across the globe, most of them accomplished in some form of academia. Hence, Nobel Prize nominations usually come from the likes of university professors, previous Nobel laureates, even judges on the selection committee. 

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The awards are presented in different locations, depending on the category. Here they are below.

Phsyics: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Chemistry: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Economics: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Physiology or medicine: Karolinska Institute

Literature: The Swedish Academy

Peace: Norwegian Nobel Committee