Nobel Prize in Physics is administered by the Nobel Foundation and given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences annually. Regarded as one of the most prestigious awards, this is given to those who make exceptional contribution in the field of physics. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes set by Alfred Nobel’s will in the year 1895. The prize is being awarded since 1901.It is awarded in Stockholm on 10th December every year. The date marks the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel.
In his will, Nobel had mentioned that his wealth must be used to craft prizes for people who contribute outstandingly in the fields of physiology or medicine, chemistry, literature, peace and physics.
Three Nobel laureates and two works are selected for Nobel Prize in Physics each year. The selection is quite a long process. In order to select laureates, the Nobel Committee for Physics consisting of five members is elected by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The first step in the process of selection includes sending forms to around 3,000 people to nominate candidates. This is done in the month of September. These forms are submitted by the 31st of January. These forms are gone through by experts in the field of science and around 15 candidates are shortlisted. The names recommended are then submitted in the Academy. The final selection of Laureates in Physics is finally done by the Academy members. This is done via majority vote.
A Noble Prize laureate in Physics earns a gold medal, award money and a diploma with a citation.
The first Noble Prize in Physics was awarded to physicist Wilhelm Rontgen for his discovery of X-rays. Here are some other people who achieved excellence in physics and won the noble prize in the field:
- Marie Curie won the prize in the year 1903. Curie and Maria Goeppert Mayer, who was awarded the noble prize in the year 1963, were the only two women who won noble prize in physics.
- Gabriel Lippmann won the noble prize in the year 1908.
- Arthur Holly Compton won the noble prize in physics in 1927.
- American scientist, John Bardeen was awarded this prize twice in the year 1956 and 1972.
- Aage Niels Bohr, Ben Roy Mottelson and Leo James Rainwater won the prize in the year 1975.
- Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa, Arno Allan Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson won the prize in the year 1978.
- Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai M. Seigbahn won the prize in 1981.
- George Bednorz and K. Alexander Muller won the noble prize in physics in 1987.
- Martin L. Perl and Frederick Reines won the prize in 1995.
- Alexei A. Abrikosov and Anthony J. Leggett won the prize in the year 2003.
- Saul Perlmutter, Adam G. Riess and Brain P. Schmidt won the award in 2011.
- Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald won the noble prize in physics in 2015.
- Rainer Weiss, Kip S. Thorne and Barry C. Barish won the award in 2017.
Only living people are considered for Noble prize since 1974. In the year 2011, however, an exception was made. Ralph Steinman was selected for Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine but he died just a few days before receiving the award. He was still bestowed with the honour.