Medicine prize to open Nobel award week

The annual Nobel Prize announcements begin on Monday – amid the coronavirus pandemic – with the award in Medicine opening the week.

The notification by the Karolinska Institute’s Nobel Assembly is due at the earliest by 11.30 am local time (0830 AEDT).

Laureates in physics, chemistry, literature and peace are also due to be announced in the coming week, followed by economics next week.

With the exception of economics, the prizes were endowed by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833-96), the inventor of dynamite.

This year, each prize is worth 10 million kronor ($A1.5 million), an increase from the 9 million kronor in recent years.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was first awarded in 1901.

Last year US-born researchers William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza and British scientist Peter Ratcliffe were awarded for their work on cells’ use of oxygen.

The actual awards – comprising a medal and a diploma – will be presented on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death.

Organisers have earlier said that due to the pandemic, laureates in science, literature and peace are likely to receive their awards in their respective home countries instead of travelling to Stockholm for the award ceremony.

The Peace Prize ceremony in the Norwegian capital of Oslo has been moved to a smaller venue with fewer guests.

This year’s peace laureate or laureates will either be presented in person or asked to participate in an online event, organisers said.

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