Every year the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish Academy, and the Norwegian Nobel committee give a series of prizes established in the will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel.
The Nobel prizes are always handed out on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896. Each prize is worth 8-million Swedish kroner (SEK) – approximately $1.1 million U.S. dollars as of October 2014. In addition to the prize money, each laureate receives a diploma and a gold medal.
The physics, chemistry, physiology/medicine, literature and peace prizes were first awarded in 1901, while the economics prize was created in 1968.
Nobel, a wealthy Swedish industrialist who invented dynamite, provided few directions for how to select winners, except that the prize committees should reward those who “have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind”.
Here are the 2014 winners:
Jean Tirole of Toulouse University, won for his work on market power and regulation, and his work on taming powerful firms.
Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani education campaigner shot on a school bus in 2012 by a Taliban gunman, and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children’s rights activist.
Stefan Hell of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, William Moerner of Stanford University in California, and Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Virginia, “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”.
Shuji Nakamura of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan, for “the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”.
British-US scientist John O’Keefe and married couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser from Norway for discovering the brain’s “inner GPS”.