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
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
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

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

    £26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions