Friday, October 25, 2013

The Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize: Did You Know This?

Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), the rich Swedish inventor of dynamite and the creator of the Nobel Prize, had a rude awakening. His brother had died, but the  newspapers, in error, reported his death, and published his obituary, which they had prepared in advance. They stated that he was known for creating the most destructive force known to mankind, dynamite. He was so shocked about what people thought about him, that he decided to change his public image and do something for humanity. He decided that he didn't want his family name remembered for destruction.

In 1866 Nobel had invented dynamite and built up companies and laboratories in more than 20 countries all over the world. Not only did he hold more than 350 patents, he also wrote poetry and drama and seriously considered becoming a writer.

While science had built the foundation for Nobel's own activities as a technological researcher and inventor, efforts to promote peace had always been close to his heart. As a result, he began thinking about giving away his fortune as a means to recognize those that have made significant contributions in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. The prize for economics was added later on. The prize for peace was to be awarded to the person who "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding of peace congresses."