Stockholm, Dec 10: From 1901 till this year, Nobel prizes have been awarded 567 times to 864 Laureates and 25 organisations with the youngest winner being Peace Prize awardee Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan at 17 years.
By winning the Peace Nobel at this tender age along with India's Kailash Satyarthi, Yousafzai beat the previous record of Lawrence Bragg, who won the Physics Nobel in 1915 at the age of 25.
The word "Laureate" signifies the laurel wreath awarded to winners of athletic competitions and poetic meets in Ancient Greece.
In Greek mythology, god Apollo is represented wearing on his head a laurel wreath, a circular crown made of branches and leaves of the bay laurel. Since 1901, prizes have not been awarded 50 times, most of them during World War I (1914-1918) and II (1939-1945).
The statutes of the Nobel Foundation say, "If none of the works under consideration is found to be of the importance indicated in the first paragraph, the prize money shall be reserved until the following year."
"If, even then, the prize cannot be awarded, the amount shall be added to the Foundation's restricted funds."
On 27 November 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace.
In 1968, Sweden's central bank Sveriges Riksbank established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Nobel. Leonid Hurwicz has the distinction of being the oldest Nobel recipient at the age of 90 for Economics in 2007.
Till now, 47 women have won the Nobel while two Laureates declined the prize. Jean-Paul Sartre, awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature, declined it as he had consistently declined all official honours.
Le Duc Tho, awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for negotiating the Vietnam peace accord, said he was not in a position to accept the award, citing the situation in Vietnam as his reason.
Four Laureates were forced by authorities to decline the Nobel. Adolf Hitler forbade three Germans Richard Kuhn, Adolf Butenandt and Gerhard Domagk, from accepting the Nobel Prize. They, however, received the Nobel Prize Diploma and Medal later but not the prize amount.