October 10, 2019
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Two Nobel Prizes in literature will be announced Thursday after the 2018 literature award was postponed following sex abuse allegations that rocked the Swedish Academy. The chemistry prize went Wednesday to three scientists for their work leading to the development of lithium-ion batteries. That was a day after the physics award was given to a Canadian-American and two Swiss, and on Monday the Physiology or Medicine award went to two Americans and one British scientist.
So far, nine Nobel prizes have been awarded this week and all the laureates are men. The coveted Nobel Peace Prize is Friday and the economics award on Monday. In March, the foundation behind the Nobel Prize in literature said the Swedish Academy had revamped itself and restored trust. The Nobel Foundation had warned that another group could be picked to award the prize if the academy didn’t improve its tarnished image.
The literature prize was canceled last year after a mass exodus at the exclusive Swedish Academy following sex abuse allegations. Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of a former academy member, was convicted last year of two rapes in 2011. Arnault allegedly also leaked the name of Nobel Prize literature winners seven times.
Among the favorites for the literature award are Canadian poet Anne Carson, novelists Maryse Condé of Guadeloupe, Can Xue of China and Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which has been made into a hit TV series.
In his will, Swedish industrialist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel specifically designated the Swedish Academy as the institution responsible for the Nobel Prize in literature. Other institutions in Sweden and Norway were given the task to find winners for the other Nobel Prizes.
Nobel decided the physics, chemistry and medicine should be awarded in Stockholm, and the peace prize in Oslo. His exact reasons for having an institution in Norway handing out the peace prize is unclear, but during his lifetime Sweden and Norway were joined in a union, which was dissolved in 1905.
Wednesday’s chemistry prize went to John B. Goodenough, a German-born engineering professor at the University of Texas; M. Stanley Whittingham, a British-American chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton; and Japan’s Akira Yoshino, of Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University.
On Tuesday, Canadian-born James Peebles, 84, an emeritus professor at Princeton University, won the physics prize for his theoretical discoveries in cosmology together with Swiss scientists Michel Mayor, 77, and Didier Queloz, 53, both of the University of Geneva. The latter were honored for finding an exoplanet — a planet outside our solar system — that orbits a solar-type star, the Nobel committee said.
A day earlier, two Americans and one British scientist — Drs. William G. Kaelin Jr. of Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Gregg L. Semenza of Johns Hopkins University and Peter J. Ratcliffe at the Francis Crick Institute in Britain and Oxford University — won the prize for advances in physiology or medicine. They were cited for their discoveries of “how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.”
With the glory comes a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma. The laureates receive them at an elegant ceremony on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896 — in Stockholm and in Oslo.
Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.