Nobel Prize sum decreasing
Last year's Nobel Prize recipients received SEK 10 million ($1.4 million), this year's recipients will have to do with 8 million SEK ($1.1 million). The Nobel Foundation is decreasing the prize sum for the first time in over 60 years, a deed they blame on the poor economy.
“The main motivation is that the financial market is very rocky and there’s reason to suspect it will continue like that for quite some time,” says Lars Heikensten, Managing Director at the Nobel Foundation. The prize sum has been 10 million SEK since 2001, which was also the year the sum was the highest compared to the first year, 1901, converted into the monetary value at the time. Even if that value has since decreased with the inflation the sum has not decreased since 1948, and all decisions that have been made since has instead increased the sum. As most know, the prize money comes from the capital Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) once donated. However, according to Heikensten, Nobel’s money isn’t growing quickly enough for it to cover future awardees.
“We simply don’t have enough proceeds of the money to cover our costs,” he says. And adds that the prize sum this year, in spite of being decreased, will still be on the same level as the sum in 1901, according to today’s monetary value. Heikensten believes the decision to decrease the prize money was a wise and necessary one, but is not happy to have to cut it. “Our long-term ambition is to raise the sum, even though the value of the Nobel Prize is the quality of it, not the money.” Lars Bergström, Secretary for the Nobel Committee in Physics, doesn’t think the prize money is what’s in focus for the recipients. “It usually means very little. It’s the prestige that counts. Also the Swedish crowns are converted into other currencies, and those conversions may have greater effects on the prize sum,” he says.

Read more about the Nobel Prize and its founder, the inventor Alfred Nobel: Nobel by name, noble by nature