Nobel Prize provides a lot of Great Scientist points per turn, greatly hastening your generation of Great Scientists. It's immensely valuable if you're trying to attract Carl Sagan and Stephanie Kwolek, whose abilities will spur you toward a Science Victory.
Not wanting to go down in history as the “merchant of death” (no matter how justified) that a French newspaper referred to him as, Alfred Nobel in his will left about 94% of his great wealth to the establishment of five prizes to be awarded annually. These prizes – in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace – were to be given to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” On the fifth anniversary of Nobel’s death, in December 1901, the first were presented. Since then, the Prize has become the highest honor a scientist can receive, bringing recognition, academic advancement, and new research opportunities. To date (and increasing each year), some 870 individuals and 23 organizations have won Nobel Prizes.