“On 27 November 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace – the Nobel Prizes. In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank) established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.” (quoted from Nobelprize.org) On 10 December 2018 this year’s main award ceremonies take place in Stockholm and Oslo, adding the latest laureates to the list.
More than a third – 361 awards – of all awards in all categories were given to citizens of the United States, followed by United Kingdom (119), Germany (104), France (68) and Sweden (32). Russia, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and Austria complete the top 10. The first country from the Southern Hemisphere is South Africa on 20th place with 11 awards.
The distribution of prizes is not only unbalanced from a geographical but also a gender perspective: 62 women vs. 1013 men in 118 years of the Nobel prizes. Marie Curie was the first women to be awarded a Nobel prize, in Physic, jointly with her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel for the discovery of Radium. In 1911 she was awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Only 18 awards were given to female scientists in the categories Physics, Medicine and Chemistry, the others were awarded for achievements in the field of Literature or the fight for Peace.