A Nobel Prize Win Is Still A Pretty Big Deal But It Used To Come With A Lot More Money


A Nobel Prize win is without a doubt one of the most prestigious wins for anyone in the sciences.

It is a huge nod to years of research and study and it makes the sometimes unknown scientist instantly famous.

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For instance, not many people outside the world of science knew much about Yoshinori Ohsumi and his work on autophagy which won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, or for that matter, the trio of David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz who won the Nobel Prize for physics for their “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter”.

Nobel prize win

By winning the Nobel Prize in their field, however, they have garnered a little fame, a lot of recognition and a decent sum of money to put towards retirement or further work.

The Nobel prize win for this year will, however, not dish out the sizeable sum that it did in the past. In fact, over the years, the sum given out for a Nobel Prize win has tended to fluctuate.

This year’s Nobel Prize win will not dish out as much money as previous years

This year, after adjusting for inflation, in dollar terms, the prize money will amount to just a little more than half of the sum given for the 2008 prize.

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The reason for this? Alfred Nobel, the 19th century industrialist who instituted the prize, set aside in his will funds to furnish the prize each year. He stipulated in his will that most of his estate, more than 31 million Swedish krona (today approximately SEK 1,712 million) should be converted into a fund and invested in “safe securities.”

Income from the investments was then to be “distributed annually in the form of prizes to those who during the preceding year have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.” Just like any other invested fund, however, the value of the Nobel fund is affected by changes in global markets and that partly explains the fluctuations.

Nobel prize win

That funds value hit its peak in 1999, but has gone through a lot of fluctuations since then. With the most recent valuation of the fund, however, things seem to be looking up as the fund is once again on a trend to reach its peak.

Therefore, if everything goes on as predicted, next year’s Nobel Prize winners may be able to look forward to a nice increase in the payout for their Nobel Prize win.