About Dr. Alfred Nobel
Dr. Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator and the inventor of dynamite. Dr. Nobel’s greatness lay in his ability to combine the penetrating mind of the scientist and inventor with the forward-looking dynamism of the industrialist. Dr. Nobel was very interested in social and peace-related issues. He had a great interest in literature and wrote his own poetry and dramatic works. As an extension and a fulfillment of his lifetime interests, in his last will, Dr. Nobel used his enormous fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes.
Winning a Nobel Prize is a life-changing honor. The award brings with it worldwide recognition that highlights one’s life work and provides the funds to continue and further one’s mission. For academics and institutions, a Nobel Prize is used to attract the best and the brightest minds, whether students or scholars.
Alfred Nobel’s Last Will and Testament
Swedish inventor and scholar Alfred Nobel created the Nobel prizes in his will, written in 1895, bequeathing his fortune to a fund that would honor
“Those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”
Nobel’s will specified that the prizes be divided into five equal parts, apportioned as follows for the physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace prizes:
“One part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part 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 and promotion of peace congresses.”
The Nobel Foundation was created to manage the capital in Nobel’s estate. Since 1901, the year the first Nobel Prizes were awarded, the Foundation has funded the prestigious awards created by their namesake. The Nobel Prize for Economics, the only award not included in Nobel’s will, is funded by the Swedish Central Bank, which created the prize in 1968. It was first awarded in 1969.