Nobel season kicks off next week with Medicine Prize

The Nobel season opens Monday with the Medicine Prize and all eyes are fixed on the prestigious Peace Prize, won by US President Barack Obama last year in a jaw-dropping surprise.

Together with Literature, the Peace Prize is the most watched Nobel award, with honours also handed out annually for expectional work in medicine, physics, chemistry, and economics.

Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 after less than a year in office and as the United States was waging wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The pick triggered wide criticism of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

This year, it will go to a less controversial choice, said Kristian Berg Harpviken, the head of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, who earlier this year described Obama's pick as a "bombshell."

"My hunch is that it's quite likely the committee may be somewhat more traditional in its selection of a candidate than it was last year," he told reporters this week.

In recent years, the committee has occasionally stretched the scope of the prize to include unconventional areas like environmentalism and the fight against climate change.

Advocates of non-violence, disarmament, human rights and democracy are considered "traditional" bets.

The Peace Prize committee will have a record of 237 candidates to chose from this year, with Chinese dissidents and the founders of the Internet known to be on the list.

Berg Harpviken said he does not believe this year's award will go to a Chinese dissident, a move which Beijing warned against again this week.

He pointed instead to Afghan human rights activist Sima Samar, the Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma radio and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Online betting website deemed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo gamblers' best bet with odds of 6 to 1.

It put Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at 8 to 1 and also gave 8 to 1 to Russian human rights group Memorial and its founding member Svetlana Gannushkina.

Odds for the founders of the Internet were at 9 to 1, ahead of Sima Samar's 12 to 1 chances.

The Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo on October 8 and the Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature and Economics Prizes will be announced in Stockholm - the hometown of industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the prizes - on October 4, 5, 6, 7 and 11.

The Swedish Academy has kept mum as usual ahead of its announcement of the Literature prize, but literary circles have suggested it could go to a poet for the first time since 1996, and perhaps to a woman from Africa.

The continent was the theme of this year's Gothenburg book fair - a routine excursion for the academy - sparking speculation that Algerian poet Assia Djebar could win.

But Djebar writes in French, and her chances could be lowered by the fact a French-language author, Frenchman Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, won two years ago.

Last year, the prize went to Germany's Herta Mueller for her work inspired by her life under Nicolae Ceausescu's dictatorship in Romania.

In poetry, the usual suspects are Tomas Transtroemer of Sweden, Syria's Adonis and South Korea's Ko Un.

Other writers who regularly figure among Nobel favorites are Canadian authors Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, US novelists Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates and Israel's Amos Oz.

The field is seen as wide open for the science prizes, which American researchers have dominated in the post-war period.

Americans cemented their domination last year with a record of 11 of the 13 laureates across all categories.

But 2009 broke with tradition in honouring a record number of women, with five women laureates, including a first time woman winner in Economics.

Laureates receive 10 million Swedish kronor (1.49 million dollars, 1.09 million euros) which can be split between up to three winners per prize.

The Peace Prize will be handed out in Oslo on December 10.

Other Nobel laureates will pick up their prizes in Stockholm on the same day.



Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 40 years ...

    Recruitment Genius: Weekend Factory Operatives

    £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer is curr...

    Recruitment Genius: FP&A Analyst

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A market leading acquirer and m...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fully qualified electricians re...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific