This day in history
Nobel Prize - A brief history
...to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.
Winning a Nobel Prize is one of the highest international honours that can be bestowed on a person. It brings global recognition and attention to a winner’s work, and will help to generate funds to ensure the continuation of this work. It highlights our best and brightest.
On 27 November 1895 Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, engineer, industrialist and inventor of dynamite, left $9 million in his will to establish the Nobel Prizes. He stipulated that the awards be given annually, disregarding the nationality of possible recipients. He also specified six areas to be covered by the rewards namely Peace, Literature, Physics, Chemistry and Physiology or Medicine. In 1968 the Bank of Sweden added the award for economic science in memory of Nobel.
Nobel’s family were surprised and upset that he had not left all of his fortune to them, but rather to establish the prizes. Although they contested the will his last wishes were respected and the first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901, on the 5-year anniversary of his death. The funds and assets that are made available for the awards of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace are managed by the Nobel Foundation. This private institution was established in 1900 and is responsible for all arrangements surrounding the awards.