It's the moment of glory that scientists, writers and champions of peace worldwide dream of.
Next week a select few will get a $1.4 million phone call from Scandinavia. Others will learn that they once again were passed over by the Nobel Prize judges. Bob Dylan is nominated for literature, Chinese dissidents are favorites for peace.
Starting on Monday, the six Nobel committees will announce their picks for the world's most prestigious awards, honoring outstanding achievements in medicine, chemistry, physics, literature, economics and the promotion of world peace.
Each prize includes a 10 million kronor ($1.4 million) purse and a ticket to Stockholm or Olso, where Nobel laureates have accepted their awards amid royal pomp and ceremony since 1901.
The selection process is shrouded in customary secrecy until the winners are announced by solemn prize judges at daily news conferences and in citations posted on the Nobel Web site. They are also delivered by courier to a handful of news organizations, including The Associated Press.
Deliberations are closed and nominations kept secret, but they sometimes leak from those who make them.
This year, Danish literature professor Anne-Marie Mai revealed she had nominated Dylan for the literature prize because she was upset about a Nobel judge's critical remarks about American literature in an interview with the AP last year.
``Bob Dylan shows that American art and literature is worthy of the prize,'' Mai said. ``I think he's one of the foremost artists in poetry.''
Before last year's prize announcement, the panel's outgoing secretary, Horace Engdahl, said the U.S. was too insular and ignorant to challenge Europe as the center of the literary world.
Dylan is believed to have been nominated several times before, but doesn't quite fit the profile of a Nobel literature winner. Besides primarily being a songwriter, his mass following could also be considered a minus by the Swedish Academy, which often chooses writers who are unfamiliar to the everyday reader.
In 2004 even literature professors were scratching their heads when the academy picked Elfriede Jelinek of Austria for angst-filled novels and plays ``that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's cliches and their subjugating power.''
One of the panel members thought the selection was so absurd that he has boycotted the academy's meetings since.
Other names mentioned in the literature buzz this year include Israeli writer Amos Oz, American writers Joyce Carol Oates and Philip Roth and Syrian poet Adonis.
The prize selections often result in allegations of political bias. The peace prize, in particular, is viewed through a political prism because the committee consists of members of the Norwegian Parliament, as stipulated in the 1895 will of prize founder Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist who invented dynamite.
In unusually blunt language, the committee chairman in 2002 said giving the prize to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter for his mediation in international conflicts should be seen as a ``kick in the leg'' to the Bush administration's hard line in the buildup to the Iraq war.
Five years later, the committee honored Bush's adversary in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, for his campaign to raise awareness about global warming.
This year, experts say the panel could rebuke China by awarding Chinese dissidents and human rights advocates on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing.
The awards in physics, chemistry and medicine don't normally generate any uproar among world governments, but they often spark heated discussions within the scientific community.
The medicine committee last year rekindled debate about who discovered the AIDS virus when it honored French scientists Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier for the breakthrough, but left out American researcher Robert Gallo, who also claimed credit for the discovery and who played a big role in research of the disease.
Some say the Nobel Prizes, first awarded in 1901, should be modernized to stay relevant to the science and challenges of the 21st century.
In a letter to the Nobel Foundation, 10 scientists this week called for the creation of new prizes for environment and public health that would focus on applications rather than basic research.
Nobel Foundation chairman Mikael Sohlman didn't immediately return calls seeking comment, but there is little chance of expanding the prizes, given the foundation's strict adherence to Nobel's will.
An exception was made in 1968, however, when the foundation allowed the creation of the economics prize. Founded by Sweden's central bank in Nobel's memory, that award is technically not a Nobel Prize, but is handed out by Sweden's figurehead king at the same time as the five original awards.
``There is no reason to view (the economics prize) as divergent. The process of how the different prize winners are selected is virtually identical,'' said economics prize committee member Robert Eriksson.
The medicine prize will be announced Monday, followed by physics on Tuesday and chemistry on Wednesday. The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Oct. 9 and the economics award on Oct. 12. No date has been set yet for the literature prize.
All awards are handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.