The Nobel Prize panel does not change its perspective to award the 2011 Medicines Prize to a beneficiary who died days before the declaration was made. Today (3 October) three specialists, Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Dr Ralph Steinman, were awarded the prize for work that provided important insights into how the insensitive scaffold is operated. Some time later, the Council learned that Steinman of Rockefeller University had passed away on Friday (30 September).

Steinman passed on a pancratic malignant growth at the age of 68, according to McGill University. Since the prize is not awarded after death, the board met to decide whether Steinman’s honour was still legitimate. After examining the first sculptures of the Nobel Foundation, the board of trustees reported that their choice had been maintained. The principles state that the prize applies if a person has received a prize and passed it on before accepting it. “The events that have happened are interesting and apparently phenomenal throughout the existence of the Nobel Prize,” the Board said in a proclamation.

“The decision to award the Nobel Prize to Ralph Steinman was taken in accordance with normal decency, given the assumption that the Nobel Prize winner was alive. This was genuine, but not at the time of the election, just a day or so”, the Council said. The Board of Trustees, which managed the conditions, was like the occasion when a Nobel Prize winner dies before the actual Nobel Prize ceremony (which takes place a few months after the declaration). Under these circumstances, the prize will still be presented to the expired person.

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