Gerty Cori Memorabilia

October 1957 calendar page noting Gerty Cori's death

This page, torn from Carl Cori’s calendar, indicates the date and time of Gerty Cori’s death on October 26, 1957. Gerty and Carl Cori were married in 1920, right after they both received their medical degrees from German University of Prague. They were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947. That same year Gerty Cory was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare blood disease that affects the bone marrow. She lost her battle with the disease in 1957.

The Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize Award ceremony is held yearly on the 10th of December, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel. There are separate prize-awarding bodies for each category. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decides the recipients for Physics, Chemistry and the Economic Sciences awards. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet is responsible for Physiology or Medicine, and the Swedish Academy chooses for Literature. The Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Peace Prize. The Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel are presented at the Stockholm Concert Hall; the King of Sweden hands each Laureate a diploma and a medal. The Nobel Peace Prize, also presented on December 10th, is awarded at the Oslo City Hall by the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, in the presence of the King of Norway.

Each prize-awarding body decides the design of the diplomas. Though the artistic design of the diplomas changes, the text has followed the same pattern in both the Swedish and Norwegian diplomas. The Swedish diplomas (for all but the Peace Prize) state the person or persons to whom the prize has been awarded with a citation explaining why. The Norwegian diploma (for the Peace Prize) does not include a citation.

Nobel diploma in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Gerty Cori, 1947

From 1901 to 1964, the Physiology or Medicine diplomas were decorated with art works. Since 1965 the diplomas for Physiology or Medicine have consisted of a gold medal in relief and calligraphic text. The diploma for the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was designed by Jerk Werkmäster.

Nobel medals have had the same design since 1902. They are 66 mm. in diameter and weigh approximately 200 grams. Until 1980 they medals were made of 23-karat gold. Since 1980 the medals have been made of 18-karat green gold, plated with 24-karat gold.

The medals for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature were designed by the Swedish sculptor and engraver Erik Lindberg. The Peace medal was designed by the Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. The Nobel medal for the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which was established in 1968, was designed by Gunvor Svensson-Lundqvist.

All Nobel medals bear the portrait of Alfred Nobel on the front side. The Nobel medal for Peace bears the inscription “Pro pace et fraternitate gentium” (“For the peace and brotherhood of men.”) on the reverse side. The Economics medal bears no quotation on the reverse side.

Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine awarded to Gerty Cori in 1947

The front side of the Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature medals are all the same. They feature a portrait of Alfred Nobel and the years of his birth and death in Latin (1833-1896). The main inscription on the reverse side reads “Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes” (“And they who bettered life on earth by new found mastery”). The central image varies according to the prize-awarding institution. The image on the medal for Physiology or Medicine represents the Genius of Medicine holding an open book in her lap, collecting the water pouring from a rock in order to quench a sick girl’s thirst.