Famous Awards: The Nobel Prize

Nobel prizes are awarded for several categories in order to recognize academic, cultural, and scientific advancements in the world. The prizes are given in chemistry, literature, peace, physics, and physiology, with the results of some (notably literature, peace, and physics) being more widely celebrated than others. The Nobel Peace Prize in particular usually celebrates a beloved leader or figure that is frequently in the public eye. But while we usually recognize the winners of this prestigious award, how many of us know what the medal itself looks like, or any of the history behind it? As trophy experts – we do! Read on to learn a little more about the background of this object recognizing humankind’s incredible achievements.

What kind of award is it?
This is a trick question, actually – aside from a cash prize, Nobel Prize winners are awarded both a medal AND a diploma for their extraordinary achievement. The diploma is handed to winners personally by either the King of Sweden or, just for the Nobel Peace Prize, by the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. As if that isn’t honorific enough, each diploma is hand-designed for the laureates who have won it, containing a related picture, title, and a description of the reason the award was received (except in the case of Peace Prize winners).

The medal, which is minted by a Swedish company, all feature an image of Alfred Nobel on one side, though the Economics and Peace Prizes feature a slightly different design. The back of the Nobel Peace Prize, arguably the most famous of all the medals, contains the inscription “Pro pace et fraternitate gentium”, which translates to “for the peace and brotherhood of men”. The year and name of the Peace Prize laureate are inscribed on the edge of the medal, and the side that doesn’t show Alfred Nobel displays an image of three men “forming a fraternal bond”. Another unique image is that pictured on the opposite side of the Literature medal, which features a boy sitting under a tree, inscribed with the Latin for “inventions enhance life, which is beautified through art”.

The medals are made with 18 carat green gold that is then plated with 24-carat gold, which weighs in at approximately 175 grams, or slightly more than a third of a pound. The medal is fairly small, with a 2.6-inch diameter and thickness of less than a quarter inch.

Who gives it out?

The Nobel Prizes are actually bestowed upon their winners by different organizations, depending on the category. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is responsible for awarding the Nobel Prizes in chemistry, physics, and the Memorial Prize in economic sciences, while another organization, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, gives out the awards for Physiology and Medicine. The Nobel Prize in literature is chosen by the Swedish Academy, while the responsibility for the Nobel Peace Prize is actually awarded by a Norwegian institution, the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

There you have it – a little demystification of one of the best-known awards on the planet. If you’re looking to give out your own award of recognition to a deserving friend, family member, colleague, or boss, we provide one of the best selections of trophies and awards in NJ and the nation – be sure to check out our product pages for inspiration!