Nobel Prize rules regulate the nomination, selection and awarding of one of the most prestigious honors in the world. Founded by Alfred Nobel in 1901, the Nobel Prizes recognize outstanding achievements in chemistry, literature, medicine, physics, physiology and peace.
There are several rules surrounding the nomination of candidates for the award. Not just anyone can nominate candidates. Instead, each category has specific criteria for those considered qualified to submit nominations. Generally, those who qualify are previous winners, the Nobel committee, university professors and government members.
Within each category, however, there may be specific specialized criteria. For example, for the Nobel Peace Price, directors of peace research institutes can also provide nominations. It's against the Nobel Prize rules for anyone to nominate themselves and the nominee must be living-no posthumous nominations are possible.
Every category has submission deadlines for nominations for the award. In September, the Nobel Committee sends out confidential forms for nominations. The forms must be returned to the respective category committees by February. Between March and May, the committees consult with experts in the field to narrow down the candidates. June through September finds the committee writing reports on candidates, reviewing them and submitting their recommendations for the Nobel Prizes. Winners are announced in October after a majority vote and the award ceremony is held in December.
There is no limit on the number of Nobel Prizes that can be awarded during a person or organization's lifetime. Famous multiple winners include two-time winner Marie Curie and the thrice-honored International Committee of the Red Cross. Winners do have the option to decline the prize-to date, six have done so. There is a clause in the statutes of the Nobel Foundation that specifies that if there is no work in a category that is worthy of the award for that year, the award should not be given out.