A Brief Nobel Prize History

The Nobel Prize history begins with Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, inventor and businessman who set up a foundation designed to recognize outstanding achievement in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, literature and peace.

Alfred Nobel
Born in 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, Alfred was the third child born to Immanuel and Adriette Nobel. His father was an engineer and inventor and moved the family to Finland and Russia during Alfred's youth. Alfred received a top education and he excelled in his studies, speaking 5 languages by the time he reached his late teens.

As a young adult, Nobel enjoyed studying science, especially chemistry and physics. He worked in a variety of laboratories and chemical engineering facilities. Nobel became particularly interested in creating practical uses for nitroglycerine. He filed for a patent for dynamite, detonators and blasting caps, eventually building nearly 100 explosive manufacturing factories around the world. Nobel continued to invent helpful things, and ended up with 355 patents. His life's goal was to improve people's lives and he wanted to do something to recognize such achievements in others.

Before Nobel died in 1896, he outlined an unusual thing in his will. He donated most of his assets and money to create a foundation that would annually recognize excellence in some of Nobel's favorite subjects. That new foundation held the first Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in 1901 in Stockholm.

The Nobel Prizes
The awards ceremonies are held on Nobel's birthday, December 10, each year to recognize and reward outstanding contributions in certain fields. After an extensive nomination and screening process, the winners are announced in October of every year and presented with their prizes in December. The week leading up to the awards ceremony is filled with lectures from the winners, banquets and other social events. At the awards ceremony, the winners, known as Nobel Laureates, receive a special diploma, a medal and a cash prize. Anywhere from one to three people can win a Nobel Prize, as long as they participated equally in the results. Famous Nobel Prize winners include Marie Curie, the 14th Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Rudyard Kipling.

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Nobel Prize rules outline just how some of the world's most prestigious honors are awarded each year. As should be expected, such high honor requires high standards and practices from the nomination stage to the annual festivities in Olso and Stockholm.

Who invented the Nobel Prize? While this honor is now known as one of the highest in the world, it all began with a young man who in time developed into one of the most brilliant minds of his day.

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The Nobel Prize categories used to honor innovators each year come directly from Alfred Nobel himself. The awards reflect Nobel's varied interests during his lifetime.

Find articles about the Nobel Prize, including Nobel Prize rules, Nobel Prize history and who invented the Nobel Prize.

Find articles about the Nobel Prize, including Nobel Prize rules, Nobel Prize history and who invented the Nobel Prize.

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