The winners of the 2009 Nobel Prizes will be announced in the next two weeks, starting with the medicine prize on Monday. Here are some brief explanations of how the award winners are picked and announced.
HOW IT WORKS: The prize-awarding institutions are scientific and literary bodies in Sweden, and a committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament to choose the peace laureate. The Swedish institutions invite nominations from past laureates and selected university professors. For the peace prize, members of governments and parliaments worldwide can also make nominations.
TIMETABLE: The medicine prize will be announced on Monday, followed by physics Tuesday, chemistry Wednesday, and peace on Friday. The date for literature has not yet been set. The economics award will be announced Oct. 12. All awards are always presented Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death in 1896 of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist who founded the prizes. Occasionally no winner is announced.
THE SECRECY: The identities of the winners are announced simultaneously, with citations explaining the choice, at a news conference in the Swedish capital and by couriers sent to the Stockholm offices of international news agencies. The peace prize is announced and awarded in Oslo, the Norwegian capital. Committee members rarely discuss their choices in public, and runners-up aren't revealed for 50 years.
THE PRIZES: Each is 10 million kronor (euro1.1 million; US$1.4 million), plus a diploma, gold medal and a lavish banquet with royalty.