The world is watching. Who will be honored for astounding scientific accomplishments and peace-keeping endeavors?

At your next dinner party, impress your friends by using the word "laureate" in natural conversation. Don't worry, we looked it up for you. A laureate is a person who is honored with an award for outstanding creative or intellectual achievement. 

According to the National Day Calendar, Nobel Prize Day is observed annually on December 10. The laureates are announced in October of each year, and the ceremonial award presentations are given throughout that week.

2020 Laureates

  • Physics 2020: One half of the award will go to Roger Penrose “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity" and the other half jointly will go to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy".
  • Chemistry 2020: This is awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna “for the development of a method for genome editing”.
  • Physiology or Medicine 2020: Harvey J. AlterMichael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice will share this honor “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus”. 
  • Literature 2020: This is awarded to the American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.
  • Peace 2020: The award goes to the World Food Programme (WFP). "The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security."
  • Economic Sciences 2020: Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson will be honored “for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats”.

Read more about all laureates through the history of the Nobel Prizes.

Nobel Prizes Quick Facts

The Swedish King presents the awards (a Nobel diploma, a medal, and 10 million Swedish crowns per prize) to each recipient. "All Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is awarded in Oslo, Norway."

"Between 1901 and 2020, the Nobel Prizes and Prize in Economic Sciences were awarded 603 times."

There have been 49 times where a Nobel Prize in a certain category hasn't been awarded. Most of these occurrences happened during World War I and World War II. According to NobelPrize.org, “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.”

The youngest laureate was Malala Yousafzail, at age 17, honored for peace efforts. At age 97, John B. Goodenough received a Nobel Prize for advances in chemistry. Three men (J. Bardeen, L. Pauling, and F. Sanger) and one woman (M. Curie) have received more than one Nobel Prize. Learn more about the Nobel prizes

How to Observe Nobel Prize Day

View 2020 awards and laureates. A full week of celebration is planned, beginning with Nobel Week Lights on December 5. Ceremonial presentations will be live-streamed throughout the week.

Celebrate by learning. Here's a full schedule of the lectures given by award recipients.

About Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist who invented dynamite and other explosives. He spoke five languages and became an inventor and businessman. By the end of his life, he had started 87 companies around the world.

He used his enormous fortune from 355 patents to institute the Nobel Prizes. Back in 1895, Alfred Nobel gave the largest share of his estate fortune to fund prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology (or medicine), literature, and peace.

His family opposed the creation of the Nobel Prize, and the prize awarders he named refused to do what he had requested in his will. It was five years before the first Nobel Prize could be awarded in 1901.

Did you watch the Nobel Prize ceremonies this year? Tell us what you thought in the comments below.