Nobel Prize No Longer Worth What It Once Was
Award cut 20% after foundation gets poor return on investments
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2012 1:50 AM CDT
Updated Jun 12, 2012 3:20 AM CDT
Swedish dynamite Alfred Nobel changed his will to create the prize after he saw an obituary, printed early in error, that called him the "merchant of death."   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – In the latest sign of the world's economic woes, the Nobel Foundation is slashing the value of its prizes for the first time since 1949. The winners of this year's prizes in Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace and Economics will receive $1.1 million, down from $1.4 million last year, reports the Wall Street Journal. The foundation says the cut is to safeguard its assets for the future amid instability in equity markets. Other expenses, including administration and festivity costs, will also be cut.

"The value of the Nobel Prize lies in our ability to award the right persons, but one should not underplay the prize money," said the foundation's director, noting that the prize was increased after the foundation got a good return on its investments in the '90s. "The Nobel Prize is and has been a big prize, and we have the ambition to grow in the future." The move comes as Aung San Suu Kyi prepares to head to Oslo to finally collect the Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991.