Here's What You Get When You Win The Nobel Prize

For over a century, the Nobel Committee has been handing out the coveted prize that bears its name to individuals who have made profound contributions to their fields. Specifically, as the prize notes on its website, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, distraught that one of his inventions (dynamite) had earned him the label "war profiteer," decided to put a considerable portion of his fortune toward the establishment of a prize to be awarded to people who "have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind," as he wrote.

Originally, the prize was given to individuals whose work was in some way related to peace — hence the Nobel Peace Prize. However, over the decades, the prize fund has grown to include awards for contributions in literature, physics, chemistry, economics, and medicine, in addition to peace.

The value of the prize fluctuates, both in terms of raw dollars awarded (or, to be more specific, Swedish kronor), as well as the value of the prize in relation to inflation, currency exchange rates, the buying power of the money awarded at the time, and so on.

The Nobel Prizes now include a cool million, give or take

All the way back in 1903, according to Yahoo!, the first female Nobel Laureate, Marie Curie, won a prize that was worth $17,451 at the exchange rate of the time. In 2021 dollars, that translates to about $561,649.14. Today, the prize is worth almost exactly twice that. Since 2017, the committee has awarded $1 million to prize winners. Further, winners receive a certificate, shake hands with the King of Sweden, and are awarded a medal: 175 grams of 18-karat gold, according to the committee's website. Mid State Recycling reports that the spot price of a gram of 18-karat gold, as of this writing, is $42.78, meaning that if winners were desperate and wanted to pawn their medal, they could take home an additional $7,486.50.

There are also the intangible benefits of a Nobel prize. Any winner who works in academia will almost surely get a boost in their bid for tenure, as well as in their career generally. They may also get a boost in sales of their books or papers, or may see more students signing up for their classes.