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How to pick a Nobel Laureate

Did you miss the panel discussion on this year's Nobel Prizes? Here you can watch the recording of the conversation on how Nobel Laureates are chosen.

How to pick a Nobel Laureate was broadcast live 28 September 2018.

Announcement day is busy

Several researchers at Stockholm University are members of the Nobel Committees, the bodies charged with selecting Nobel Laureates, and have a deep understanding of the processes Nobel Laureates are chosen.

The announcement of the Nobel Laureates and the Laureates in Economic Sciences for the year is made on the same day that the Nobel Prize awarding institutions choose from among the names recommended by the respective Nobel Committees. Immediately after the vote, a press conference is held by the concerned Nobel Prize awarder.

Nobel Prize Committees in Physics and Chemistry

In this talk Professor Lars Bergström, professor of theoretical physics specializing in astroparticle physics at Stockholm University and part of the Nobel Prize Committee in Physics, and Professor Gunnar von Heijne, a scientist working on signal peptides, membrane proteins and bioinformatics at the Stockholm Center for Biomembrane Research at Stockholm University, and member of the Nobel Prize Committee of Chemistry, told the audience in Studenthuset about how the nomination process works, what is said in the will of Alfred Nobel and how the process works.

The conversation was moderated by Olof Somell who has a background in physics and history of science, and has been working with the history of the Nobel Prize at the Nobel Museum since 2006. He regularly lectures on the Nobel Prize both in Sweden and abroad. 

Nominations from around the world

Nominations come in from around the world. "You may not nominate yourself, only be nominated, and there is a nomination deadline", the professors explained. "However, the process is ongoing throughout the year", Professor Gunnar von Hejne said. 

"The prize in physics must be awarded to an innovation or a discovery", Professor Lars Bergström explained, "it is not enough to be a genius". 

"The prize in chemistry must be awarded to an innovation or improvement according to the will", Professor Gunnar von Hejne told the audience. "The hardest part is to identify the laureates who should be awarded the prize, as the research often involves several researchers and research groups", he continued. The maximum number of laureates is three.

"We single out the main people in a discovery, without whom the innovation would never have happened", Professor Bergström continued.

Announcements in October

The Laureates will be announced starting on 1 October, revealing the scientists and peace workers who – in keeping with the vision of Alfred Nobel – have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind. The schedule of the week's announcement can be viewed here.

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