The Nobel Prizes are six separate prizes. They are awarded to “those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to Humankind”. The Nobel Prize is one of the most prestigious awards available in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace. Every year, the Nobel Foundation awards outstanding individuals who are nominated by their peers in their respective fields. In 1968, the Sveriges Riksbank (Bank of Sweden) added the Prize in Economic Sciences. The Nobel Prizes have been awarded annually since 1901, five years after the death of Alfred Nobel.
Alfred Bernhard Nobel is a Swedish chemist, engineer, and industrialist. Many know him for inventing dynamite and other explosives and also for establishing the Nobel Prizes through his will.
The Nobel Foundation is a private institution founded in 1900. Its mission is to fulfill the provisions of the will of Alfred Nobel. This ncludes the administration and awarding of the Nobel Prizes. The Board, the foundation’s representative body, consists of seven members and two deputies who are either Swedish or Norwegian. Though the Foundation awards the prizes, it does not decide who the winners are. Four institutions, as stipulated in Nobel’s will, are in charge of deciding who the prize winners are. These four institutions are the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (chemistry, physics, and economics), the Karolinska Institute (medicine), the Swedish Academy (literature), and the Norwegian Nobel Committee (peace).
Receiving the Nobel Prize is one of the highest achievements and honors a person can get in their respective field. As such, many banknotes feature Nobel laureates. Here are some notes that honor Nobel laureates:
Ernest Rutherford – 1908 Nobel laureate in Chemistry
Ernest Rutherford is a New Zealand physicist who became the Father of Nuclear Physics. He is the first Oceanian Nobel laureate. He is most recognized for his studies and works on radioactivity and the disintegration of radioactive elements. Rutherford won his Nobel Prize for “his investigations into the disintegration of the elements and the chemistry of radioactive substances.”
Rutherford is a consistent figure on the 100 New Zealand dollar since 1992. The 100 New Zealand dollar note features his portrait and the Nobel Prize medal on the obverse side.
Marie Curie- 1911 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, 1903 Nobel laureate in Physics
Marie Curie, nee Sklodowska is a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She is also the first two-time Nobel Prize winner. She is a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics along with her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Bacquerel in 1903. “In recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena”. Curie was widowed in 1906 but continued to study radiation and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911. “In recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium, and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element”. Her daughter, Irene, also won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.
Two Polish notes honor Marie Curie—the 20,000 Polish zloty note introduced in 1989 and also the commemorative 20 Polish zloty note introduced in 2011. The 20,000 zloty note features Marie Curie in front and the First Polish nuclear reactor at the back. Meanwhile, the 20 Polish zloty note from 2011 commemorates the centennial anniversary of Curie’s 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The 20 Polish note features Marie Curie’s portrait on the obverse side and the Nobel medal and a quote from Curie on the reverse side.
Pierre Curie- 1903 Nobel laureate in Physics
Pierre Curie is a French physicist and a pioneer in the fields of crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity, and also radioactivity. He and his wife Marie Curie are the 1903 Nobel Prize Winners due their work in Physics with Henri Becquerel. They are also the first married couple to win the Nobel Prize. His daughter, Irene, and her husband are the second married couple to win the Nobel Prize.
The last 500 French franc note design honors both Pierre and Marie Curie. The couple is on the obverse side while their laboratory is on the reverse side. In addition, the Curies are the only couple on the French franc.