Because of the global economy, the Nobel Committee will be awarding a smaller amount of prize money this year, reports the Nature News Blog's Ewen Callaway. This year, the committee will hand out 8 million Swedish krona ($1.2 million) per prize, down from 10 million krona. Callaway notes that this is the first time the prize amount has gone down since 1949. "The Nobel Foundation is responsible for ensuring that the prize sum can be maintained at a high level in the long term. We have made the assessment that it is important to implement necessary measures in good time," says Lars Heikensten, executive director of the Nobel Foundation, in a statement.
Callaway adds that he "learned of the cuts when a structural biologist friend fretted that he would not be able to afford a Ferrari, should he ever win a Nobel." While there is a drop for 2012, "even if three laureates share an award, each can still buy a Ferrari 458 Italia Spider — with enough money left over to get a mid-priced Porsche," he writes.