Nobel Prize are the awards given in a number of categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, and scientific advances. Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes in 1895. The prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine were first awarded in 1901. Medals made before 1980 were struck in 23 carat gold, and later from 18 carat green gold plated with a 24 carat gold coating. The prize ceremonies take place annually in Stockholm, Sweden (with the exception of the peace prize, which is held in Oslo, Norway).
So what made Alfred Nobel dedicate his fortune to honoring and rewarding those who benefited humanity?
Nobel invented dynamite to help with mining, but it was used as a weapon in many war and led to the death of many people.
Alfred Nobel’s brother, Ludvig Nobel, died in 1888 and a French newspaper mistakenly thought it had been Alfred Nobel himself who died. The newspaper published the obituary under the title: “The Merchant of Death is Dead”, going on to state: “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”
When Nobel read this, he thought that this is not the way he should be remembered after his death and decided on leaving his enormous fortune to fund a set of prizes named after himself.
Eight years after this incident, Nobel died and his famous will was unveiled, laying the foundation for what today are considered some of the world’s most prestigious prizes. The Nobel Prizes were created as awards for people who made the greatest contributions to mankind in subjects that interested Nobel, namely Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace.
Source: Alfred Nobel