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Bono rumoured as possible candidate for Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize week is upon us, but to find out who the front-runners are, the best you can do is ask the bookies.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2005 17:45 IST

Nobel Prize week is upon us, but to find out who the front-runners are, the best you can do is ask the bookies.

Like the Oscars, the choosing of scientists, writers and peacemakers for the world's most coveted award is a process shrouded in secrecy, leaking nothing until the envelopes are opened, starting today with the award for medicine.

"This is a very desirable award and that also makes it very sensitive," said Jonas Forare, a spokesperson for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which selects the winners in chemistry, physics and economics. "It is not good if names are circulating in the air."

For the Peace Prize, to be announced in Oslo, Norway, on Friday, Australian betting agency Centrebet's favourite at 4-1 is former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, who brokered peace efforts in the Balkans and Namibia.

Nobel watchers cannot but grasp at straws. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so Sen. Richard Lugar and former Sen. Sam Nunn were fetching odds of 6.5-1 for their program to dismantle Cold War-era nuclear arsenals.

But rock musicians Bono and Bob Geldof, who campaign to ease Third World poverty, also were doing well, having gone from 66-1 to 7-1.

For literature, British-based Ladbrokes gave its shortest odds to Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said, known as Adonis; Korean poet Ko Un; American novelist Joyce Carol Oates; and Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer.

Other perennials were American Philip Roth and Peruvian-born Mario Vargas Llosa. Europeans have won the literature prize in nine of the past 10 years, so experts think the Academy may look outside Europe this year.

Should any of them be runners-up, we won't know until 2055. The rules keep the candidates' lists secret for 50 years. To find out who were nominees from 50 or more years ago was a laborious bureaucratic process, but lately the Nobel Foundation has begun listing some at http://www.nobelprize.org.

There are few guidelines for deciding who wins. Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite who founded the prizes, left only vague instructions in his will 110 years ago: scientific prizes for the "most important discovery," literary prizes for "most outstanding work" and the peace prize to someone who worked for "fraternity between nations.

PEACE PRIZE RUMOURS

The Nobel Peace Prize is to be announced in Oslo, Norway, on Friday. Names tipped:

- Former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, who brokered peace efforts in the Balkans and Namibia.

- US Senator Richard Lugar and former senator Sam Nunn, for their program to dismantle Cold War-era nuclear arsenals.

- Rock musicians Bono and Bob Geldof, for their campaign to ease Third World poverty.

First Published: Oct 04, 2005 17:45 IST