Prelims cum Mains Science & Tech

Is the Economics Prize not a ‘real’ Nobel?

Context

  • Prize for Economic Sciences about to be announced is not really a Nobel Prize.

 

History of Nobel Prizes

  • Alfred B. Nobel was a Swedish engineer turned industrialist who invented dynamite.
  • He held more than 350 patents including inventions of synthetic rubber, artificial silk, and synthetic leather
  • Although an engineer, his interests varied from science to English literature.
  • At the time of his death he left a $9 million in his will to establish the Nobel Prizes.
  • The will of Alfred Nobel, says his wealth should be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who have worked only in the fields of physiology (or medicine), literature, physics, and chemistry and shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.
  • It also establishes the Peace Prize, for the “person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
  • The prizes for Physics and Chemistry are awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences.
  • The Medicine Prize by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and that for Literature by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm; and that for Peace by a committee selected by the Norwegian Storting (Parliament).

 

Prize for Economic Sciences: How is it different?

  • While the Nobel Prize has been awarded since 1901, the first Economics prize was awarded only in 1969 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
  • The name of the prize is The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.
  • The name ‘Sveriges Riksbank Prize’ comes from the fact that the central bank of Sweden made a donation to the Nobel Foundation in 1968.
  • Thus while the five Nobel Prizes are based on a fund set up from the wealth bequeathed by Alfred Nobel, the Economic Prize is based on a donation received by the Nobel Foundation.

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