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The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Awarded for Outstanding contributions in Physiology or Medicine
Presented by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Country Sweden
First awarded 1901
Official Website http://nobelprize.org
Front side of an award medal in physiology or medicine.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (Swedish: Nobelpriset i fysiologi eller medicin) is awarded once a year by the Swedish Karolinska Institute. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace, and Physiology or Medicine since 1901. The first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded in 1901 to the German physiologist Emil Adolf von Behring, "for his work on serum therapy, especially its application against diphtheria, by which he has opened a new road in the domain of biological science and thereby placed in the hands of the physician a victorious weapon against illness and deaths." This award is administered by the Nobel Foundation and widely regarded as the most prestigious award that a scientist can receive in these fields. It is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death. "The highlight of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm is when each Nobel Laureate steps forward to receive the prize from the hands of His Majesty the King of Sweden. ... Under the eyes of a watching world, the Nobel Laureate receives three things: a diploma, a medal and a document confirming the prize amount".[1]

In 2009 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak of the United States "for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase"; they share the prize amount of 10,000,000 SEK (slightly more than 1 million, or US$1.4 million). The front side of "The medal of the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute" provides the same profile of Alfred Nobel depicted on the medals for Physics, Chemistry, and Literature; its reverse side "represents the Genius of Medicine holding an open book in her lap, collecting the water pouring out from a rock in order to quench a sick girl's thirst".[2]

Contents

Nomination and selection

A maximum of three Nobel Laureates and two different works may be selected for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.[3]

These Nobel Laureates are decided upon by the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, a body of 50 professors of the Karolinska Institute. The working body of the Assembly involved in screening candidates is a Nobel Committee that consists of five members elected by the Nobel Assembly.[4]In its first stage, several thousand people are asked to nominate candidates. These names are scrutinized and discussed by experts until only the winners remain.

Forms, which amount to a personal and exclusive invitation, are sent to about three thousand selected individuals to invite them to submit nominations. The names of the nominees are never publicly announced, and neither are they told that they have been considered for the Prize. Nomination records are sealed for fifty years. In practice some nominees do become known. It is also common for publicists to make such a claim, founded or not.

The nominations are screened by committee, and a list is produced of approximately two hundred preliminary candidates. This list is forwarded to selected experts in the field. They remove all but approximately fifteen names. The committee submits a report with recommendations to the appropriate institution.

While posthumous nominations are not permitted, awards can occur if the individual died in the months between the nomination and the decision of the prize committee.

The Award

The Nobel Prize in Physiology consists of a gold medallion (the Nobel Prize Medal for Physiology or Medicine), a diploma, and a monetary grant.[3] The Nobel Prize Medals, which have been minted in Sweden since 1902, are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation. Their engraved designs are internationally-recognized symbols of the prestige of the Nobel Prize.

The front side (obverse) of the Nobel Prize Medals for Physics, Chemistry, Literature, and Physiology or Medicine (for the "Swedish Prizes") features the same engraved profile of Alfred Nobel with his name abbreviated as "Alfr. Nobel" to the left of his profile and the dates of his birth and death to the right of it (in capital letters and Roman numerals).[3]

The grant is currently approximately 10 million SEK, slightly more than 1 million (US$1.6 million or £0.8 million ).[3][5] The Winner in 2009 Elizabeth H. Blackburn has US and Australian citizenship. She was born in 1948 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. After undergraduate studies at the University of Melbourne, she received her PhD in 1975 from the University of Cambridge, England, and was a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University, New Haven, USA. She was on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, and since 1990 has been professor of biology and physiology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Carol W. Greider is a US citizen and was born in 1961 in San Diego, California, USA. She studied at the University of California in Santa Barbara and in Berkeley, where she obtained her PhD in 1987 with Blackburn as her supervisor. After postdoctoral research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, she was appointed professor in the department of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore in 1997.

Jade W. Szostak is a US citizen. He was born in 1952 in London, UK and grew up in Canada. He studied at McGill University in Montreal and at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he received his PhD in 1977. He has been at Harvard Medical School since 1979 and is currently professor of genetics at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He is also affiliated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The Nobel Award Ceremony

The committee and institution serving as the selection board for the prize typically announce the names of the laureates in October. The prize is then awarded at formal ceremonies held annually on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death. "The highlight of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm is when each Nobel Laureate steps forward to receive the prize from the hands of His Majesty the King of Sweden. ... Under the eyes of a watching world, the Nobel Laureate receives three things: a diploma, a medal and a document confirming the prize amount".[3]

The Nobel Banquet is the banquet that is held every year in Stockholm City Hall in connection with the Nobel Prize.[3][5]

Laureates

See Also

References

External links

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