It has recently been announced that the 2006 Nobel Prize winner in the Chemistry category is Dr. Roger Kronberg. His father won the 1959 Nobel Prize in the Medicine category and shared the prize with fellow researcher Severo Ochoa. The phenomenon of both father and son winning a Nobel Prize in either of their lifetimes has occurred only six times since the first prize was awarded in 1901. The Curie family is the epitome of Nobel Prize mongering. Marie Curie has received the award twice, one which she shared with her husband Pierre Curie and Antoine Henri Becquerel. Her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie shared the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with her husband Frédéric.
At the Academy Awards, none of the nominees know who the winner will be. In fact, much of the red carpet brouhaha revolves intently around just such speculation. During the ceremony, tense moments abound as the viewer at home sees a split screen reactionary shot of each of the Oscar hopefuls. As the winner's name is announced, there is usually a gasp and a fluster, gratitude and speeches, loud orchestra music drowning out an unfortunate droner. The Nobel Prize winner gets a phone call. Of course there is pomp and circumstance at the award ceremony held later, but each Nobel Laureate is notified by phone of their winning status, just prior to the public announcement. I wonder where Mother Teresa was when she got the call.
The Nobel Prize is not without controversy. How could an award that offers recognition to individuals and organizations for work that offers value to the human existence cause controversy? First of all, there are lots of rules, and rules make people cranky. The award is not awarded in every category every year, but it must be awarded at least every five years. Nominees cannot be dead when they are nominated. This is how Gandhi missed out on his chance to be a Nobel Laureate of Peace. Each Prize can only be awarded to three individuals per year. Nominations are kept secret, sealed away for fifty years.
It was reported that Stanley Tookie Williams, convicted murderer and former Crips gang leader, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five years in a row and for the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work writing children's books. Check back around 2051-2055 when the Nobel Committee cracks open those sealed nomination records.