This briefcase belonged to Klas Pontus Arnoldson, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize 25 times and awarded the 1908 Nobel Peace Prize.

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

Nomination and selection of Nobel Laureates

Who can nominate?

Each year, thousands of members of academies, university professors, scientists, previous Nobel Laureates and members of parliamentary assemblies and others, are asked to submit candidates for the Nobel Prizes for the coming year. These nominators are chosen in such a way that as many countries and universities as possible are represented over time.

After receiving all nominations, the Nobel Committees of the four prize awarding institutions are responsible for the selection of the candidates.

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The Nobel nomination archive

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The Nobel Peace Prize has frequently caused controversy. One reason is that many Laureates have been contemporary and highly controversial political actors, another is that the Prizes in many instances, have increased public focus on international or national conflicts. In the latter case, the awards have often been seen by local authorities as "interference" in national matters. On some occasions there has even been strong criticism against the Norwegian Nobel Committee itself and the way its members are selected.

Jane Addams nomination for Carl von Ossietzky
Jane Addams' nomination for Carl von Ossietzky. It was the first nomination for the German journalist and pacifist, and it arrived to the Norwegian Nobel Committee on 15 November 1934. Carl von Ossietzky was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1935.

Photo: Archives of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) has become the strongest symbol of non-violence in the 20th century. It is widely held – in retrospect – that the Indian national leader should have been selected for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was nominated several times, but was never awarded the prize. Why?

Mahatma Gandhi laughing
Mahatma Gandhi laughing.

Photo: Public domain.

The Nobel Prize in literature and nominations

Once the statutes of the Nobel Foundation had been ratified in June 1900, the Swedish Academy immediately set to work on the preparations required to enable the award of the first prize in 1901.

Swedish Academy
The doors at the Swedish Academy.

Photo: Karin Svanholm.

The first nomination for Martin Luther King Jr. arrived to the Norwegian Nobel Committee in 1963. Not until 2014, the nominators were revealed.

Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King Jr.

Photo: Library of Congress.

Who can nominate for a Nobel Peace Prize?
Can I propose a new invention for a Nobel Prize?
Who selects the Nobel Laureates?

Find the answers in the FAQ.

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