Nomination to the Nobel Prize in Physics is by invitation only. The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later.
The Nobel Committee for Physics sends confidential forms to persons who are competent and qualified to nominate.
The right to submit proposals for the award of a Nobel Prize in Physics shall, by statute, be enjoyed by:
|1.||Swedish and foreign members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences;|
|2.||Members of the Nobel Committee for Physics;|
|3.||Nobel Laureates in Physics;|
|4.||Permanent and assistant professors in the sciences of Physics at the universities and institutes of technology of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm;|
|5.||Holders of corresponding chairs in at least six universities or university colleges selected by the Academy of Sciences with a view to ensuring the appropriate distribution over the different countries and their seats of learning; and|
|6.||Other scientists from whom the Academy may see fit to invite proposals.|
Decisions as to the selection of the teachers and scientists referred to in paragraphs 5 and 6 above shall be taken each year before the end of the month of September.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is responsible for the selection of the Nobel Laureates in Physics from among the candidates recommended by the Nobel Committee for Physics. The Nobel Committee is the working body that screens the nominations and selects the final candidates. It consists of five members, but for many years, the Committee has included adjunct members with the same voting rights as members.
The candidates eligible for the Physics Prize are those nominated by qualified persons who have received an invitation from the Nobel Committee to submit names for consideration. No one can nominate himself or herself.
Below is a brief description of the process involved in selecting the Nobel Laureates in Physics
September – Nomination forms are sent out. The Nobel Committee sends out confidential forms to around 3,000 people — selected professors at universities around the world, Nobel Laureates in Physics and Chemistry, and members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, among others.
February – Deadline for submission. The completed nomination forms must reach the Nobel Committee no later than 31 January of the following year. The Committee screens the nominations and selects the preliminary candidates. About 250–350 names are nominated as several nominators often submit the same name.
March-May – Consultation with experts. The Nobel Committee sends the names of the preliminary candidates to specially appointed experts for their assessment of the candidates' work.
June-August – Writing of the report. The Nobel Committee puts together the report with recommendations to be submitted to the Academy. The report is signed by all members of the Committee.
September – Committee submits recommendations. The Nobel Committee submits its report with recommendations on the final candidates to the members of the Academy. The report is discussed at two meetings of the Physics Section of the Academy.
October – Nobel Laureates are chosen. In early October, the Academy selects the Nobel Laureates in Physics through a majority vote. The decision is final and without appeal. The names of the Nobel Laureates are then announced.
December – Nobel Laureates receive their prize. The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony takes place on 10 December in Stockholm, where the Nobel Laureates receive their Nobel Prize, which consists of a Nobel Medal and Diploma, and a document confirming the prize amount.
The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize.