The Nobel Prize


During his final years, Nobel developed the idea of creating a prize that would encourage scientific progress, thereby improving the human condition. In his last will and testament, dated November 27, 1895, Nobel specified how the portion of his estate to be used for such prizes would be distributed

Six Nobel Prizes are awarded each year, one in each of the following categories: literature, physics, chemistry, peace, economics, and physiology & medicine. Notably absent from this list is an award for Mathematics. The reason for this conspicuous omission has been subject of extensive speculations
Not to be left out of the Big Award movement, mathematicians of the world decided to fight back. At the 1924 International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Toronto, a resolution was adopted that at each ICM, two gold medals should be awarded to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement. 
One of the most common -and unfounded- reasons as to why Nobel decided against a Nobel prize in math is that [a woman he proposed to/his wife/his mistress] [rejected him because of/cheated him with] a famous mathematician. Gosta Mittag-Leffler is often claimed to be the guilty party. 

There is no historical evidence to support the story. 

For one, Mr. Nobel was never married. 

There are more credible reasons as to why there is no Nobel prize in math. Chiefly among them is simply the fact he didn't care much for mathematics, and that it was not considered a practical science from which humanity could benefit (a chief purpose for creating the Nobel Foundation). 

Further, at the time there existed already a well known Scandinavian prize for mathematicians. If Nobel knew about this prize he may have felt less compelled to add a competing prize for mathematicians in his will. 

Nobel Prize in Physics Winners 2002
The prize is being awarded with one half jointly to: 

RAYMOND DAVIS JR., and MASATOSHI KOSHIBA for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos 

and the other half to: 

RICCARDO GIACCONI for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which have led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources

Nobel Prize in Chemistry Winners 2002
The prize is being awarded for the development of methods for identification and structure analyses of biological macromolecules with one half jointly to: 

JOHN B. FENN, and KOICHI TANAKA, for their development of soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules 

and the other half to: 

KURT WÜTHRICH for his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution. 

Nobel Prize in Literature Winners 2002
IMRE KERTÉSZ for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history 

Nobel Peace Prize Winners 2002
The prize was awarded to: 

JIMMY CARTER JR., former President of the United States of America, for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development 

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences Winners 2002
The prize was shared between: 

DANIEL KAHNEMAN for having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty 


VERNON L. SMITH, for having established laboratory experiments as a tool in empirical economic analysis, especially in the study of alternative market mechanisms 

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Winners 2002
The prize was awarded jointly to: 

SYDNEY BRENNER, H. ROBERT HORVITZ and JOHN E. SULSTON for their discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death