The Nobel Prizes are being announced this week. So who's won what and what can we expect...

• The Nobel Prizes were created by wealthy Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who in his will dictated that his estate should be used to fund "prizes to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind". Nobel died in 1895 but it took until 1901, following fighting over his will, before the first awards.

• Under the terms of Nobel's will, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the prizes for chemistry and physics, the Swedish Academy for literature, Sweden's Karolinska Institute medical university for physiology or medicine, and the Norwegian parliament for peace. It is not known why Nobel chose Norway, which at the time was in a union with Sweden, to hand out the peace prize.

A Nobel Prize medal replica is on display inside the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, on 19th September, 2022.

 A Nobel Prize medal replica is on display inside the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, on 19th September, 2022. PICTURE: Reuters/Victoria Klesty/File photo

• The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was founded in 1968, when Sweden's central bank was celebrating its 300th anniversary. It is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, according to the same principles as the other prizes.

• Notable Nobel laureates in the past have included scientists like Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and Marie Curie, authors like Ernest Hemingway and Albert Camus, and inspirational leaders like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Mother Teresa.

• Winners announced so far this year include: Hungarian scientist Katalin Kariko and US colleague Drew Weissman, who won the 2023 Nobel Prize for Medicine for their work in making mRNA molecule discoveries that paved the way for COVID-19 vaccines; scientists Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L'Huillier, who won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics for creating ultra-short pulses of light that can give a snapshot of changes within atoms, potentially leading to better detection of disease; and, scientists Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Aleksey Ekimov who won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of tiny clusters of atoms known as quantum dots, widely used today to create colours in flat screens, LED lamps and devices that help surgeons see blood vessels in tumours.

• The winner of the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on 6th October in Oslo. This year there are 351 nominees, although the full list will be locked in a vault for 50 years. The oddsmakers' favourites this year are Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Russia's Alexei Navalny, though experts say they are unlikely to win with Zelenskiy a wartime leader and Russia a focus of the committee last year. While nominations are secret, nominators are free to disclose them and among the names disclosed this year are are Greta Thunberg and fellow environmental campaigner Vanessa Nakate, jailed Russian opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza and Chinese protester Peng Lifa.

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• This year's Nobel Prizes, with the exception of the Peace Prize, will be awarded on 10th December at a ceremony in Stockholm's Concert Hall. The awards are presented by the Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf. 

• The awards ceremony will be followed by a lavish banquet in Stockholm City Hall at which some 1,300 invited guests will be present. The banquet requires extensive planning and the food is prepared by a head chef, eight head waiters, 210 waiters and waitresses, five wine waiters and 20 cooks. The menu, which is kept secret until the day of the ceremony, aims to have a touch of Scandinavia. Last year's menu included a starter of seaweed baked pike-perch, main course of venison filled with morel and sage, and desert of baked cheesecake and plum compote.

• The Nobel Peace Prize, meanwhile, will be awarded on 10th December at Oslo City Hall in Oslo by the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel committee in the presence of the King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway.

• The Nobel Foundation announced this year that the winners of the prizes will receive an extra million Swedish crowns, taking the total financial reward to 11 million Swedish crowns ($US986,000).