Alfred Nobel

Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish inventor and industrialist, born in Stockholm in 1833.
His most important work was to make the world's strongest explosive - liquid nitroglycerine - useable in practise.
He called his invention dynamite, from the Greek dynamis, meaning "power", and this was the basis for his enormous fortune.
When Alfred Nobel died in 1896, he was Europe's richest bachelor and he owned factories all over the continent.

In our time Alfred Nobel is renowned for the five Nobel Prizes.
In his last will and testament from 1895 he decided that all he owned was to be sold and the proceeds placed in secure bonds.
These assets were to constitute a fund. The accumulated interest was every year to be shared in five and given to worthy winners.
Swedish institutions were given the responsibility for four prizes (physics, chemistry, medicine/physiology and literature).
The fifth prize should be given to the person who had made the hardest effort in the work for peace. Nobel decided that an independent committee of five chosen by the Norwegian National assembly -Stortinget- would present what we today call Peace Prize Laureate.

The first Peace Prize Laureates were chosen in 1901. Henry Dunant, Switzerland, founder of the Red Cross and Frédéric Passy, France, the grand old man in the French peace movement, shared the Peace Prize.

Consulting the Oxford Dictionary of Twentieth Century Word History the article on the Nobel Peace Prize opens like this:
"The world's most prestigious prize for the cause of peace."

In 1968 the Nobel Foundation in Sweden accepted that the Sveriges Riksbank (the Swedish central bank) founded "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel". It is common to name this prize the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, and it is awarded together with the other prizes on the day of Alfred Nobel's death 10th December even if it is not mentioned in the testament.
Therefore some people argue that this is a false prize, and Alfred Nobel's relatives have always opposed it.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm choose the winner in Economic Sciences.

Find out more about Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prizes