Alfred Bernhard Nobel born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, armaments manufacturer and the inventor of dynamite. He owned Bofors, a major armaments manufacturer, which he had redirected from its

previous role as an iron and steel mill. In his last will, he used his enormous fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes. The synthetic element nobelium was named after him. Alfred Nobel was the third son of Immanuel Nobel (1801-1872) and Andriette Ahlsell Nobel (1805-1889). Born in Stockholm on 21 October 1833, he went with his family in 1842 to Saint Petersburg, where his father (who had invented modern plywood) started a "torpedo" works. Alfred studied chemistry with Professor Nikolay Nikolaevich Zinin. His family was descended from none other than Olof Rudbeck, the best-known technical genius of Sweden's 17th century era as a Great Power in Northern Europe. Having gone through a recent bankruptcy, when Alfred was five years old his father Immanuel Nobel moved to St. Petersburg, where he started a mechanical workshop for the manufacture of land mines. In 1842, when Alfred was nine years old, the rest of the family also moved to St. Petersburg. By then his father's fortunes had improved, enabling the family to live in high bourgeois style. At the time, St. Petersburg was a world metropolis, alive with scientific, social, and cultural life. Immanuel Nobel's sons did not attend school, but were instead educated at home by outstanding teachers at the level of university professor. The instruction they provided focused on both the humanities and the natural sciences. Alfred spent his most important formative years in the Russian capital. Despite the lack of formal secondary and tertiary level education, Nobel gained proficiency in six languages: Swedish, French, Russian, English, German and Italian. With these six languages, which he seemed to have mastered well, he laid the foundation for the cosmopolitan nature that would later become so prominent in his life. He also developed literary skills to write poetry in English.' His Nemesis, a prose tragedy in four acts about Beatrice Cenci, partly inspired by Percy Bysshe Shelley's The Cenci, was printed while he was dying. The entire stock except for three copies was destroyed immediately after his death, being regarded as scandalous and blasphemous. The first surviving edition (bilingual Swedish-Esperanto) was published in Sweden in 2003. The play has been translated to Slovenian via the Esperanto version. When Alfred was 18, he went to the United States to study chemistry for four years and worked for a short period under John Ericsson. In 1859, the factory was left to the care of the second son, Ludvig Nobel (1831-1888), who greatly enlarged it. Alfred, returning to Sweden with his father after the bankruptcy of their family business, devoted himself to the study of explosives, and especially to the safe manufacture and use of nitroglycerine which had been discovered in 1847 by Ascanio Sobrero, one of his fellow students under Théophile-Jules Pelouze at the University of Torino. A big explosion occurred on 3 September 1864 at their factory in Heleneborg in Stockholm, killing five people, among them Alfred's younger brother Emil. The foundations of the Nobel Prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth for its establishment. Since 1901, the prize has honored men and women for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace.

Though Nobel remained unmarried, his biographers note that he had at least three loves. Nobel's first love was in Russia with a girl named Alexandra, who rejected his proposal. In 1876 Bertha Kinsky became Alfred Nobel's secretary but after only a brief stay left him to marry her old flame, Baron Arthur Gundaccar von Suttner. Though her personal contact with Alfred Nobel had been brief, she corresponded with him until his death in 1896, and it is believed that she was a major influence in his decision to include a peace prize among those prizes provided in his will. Bertha von Suttner was awarded the 1905 Nobel Peace prize, 'for her sincere peace activities'. Nobel's third and long-lasting love was with a flower girl named Sofie Hess from Vienna. This liaison lasted for 18 years and in many of the exchanged letters, Nobel addressed his love as 'Madame Sofie Nobel'. After his death, according to his biographers - Evlanoff and Flour, and Fant - Nobel's letters were locked within the Nobel Institute in Stockholm and became the best kept secret of the time. They were only released in 1955, to be included with the biographical data of Nobel. Nobel was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1884, the same institution that would later select the laureates for two of the Nobel prizes, and he received an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University in 1893. Alfred Nobel always thought of himself as sickly and was quite prone to chest colds. This combined with the knowledge that his inventions were more valued as a tool of destruction drove him to fits of depression which caused his heart to weaken and finally give in to a stroke. He is buried in Norra begravningsplatsen in Stockholm.


During the years 1850-52, Alfred was allowed a few study-oriented stays abroad. He spent one year in Paris with the famous chemist Jules Pelouze, a professor at the Collège de France who had just opened a private training laboratory. Pelouze, who incidentally

had been a good friend of the Swedish chemist Berzelius, had also taught Nikolai Zinin, one of Alfred Nobel's private teachers. During that year, Alfred completed his training as a chemist. But somewhere around the same time was the inception of what would become the greatest inventions of his life. For it was then, if not earlier, that he must have heard about the remarkable explosive called nitroglycerine. Strangely enough, this has not been pointed out by many scholars, who have dated the crucial moment 10 years later. In 1847, in Turin, Ascanio Sobrero - an Italian student of Pelouze - had discovered a new explosive that he initially called pyroglycerine (later known as nitroglycerine). However, Sobrero, both in letters to Pelouze and in a subsequent journal article, issued a warning about the new compound, not only because it had incredible explosive power, but also because it was impossible to handle. Sobrero's discovery did not come as a bolt from the blue. As early as the 1830s, Pelouze himself and others had conducted important preliminary work by making guncotton. Since Alfred was extremely interested in explosives - it was of course a family interest - and since Pelouze had both first-hand knowledge of how explosives were manufactured and was familiar with Sobrero's discovery, Alfred must have learned about nitroglycerine at that time. However, any excitement he might have felt was immediately dampened by the difficulties of both manufacturing and handling the new compound. The end of the Crimean War (1856) spelled disaster for Immanuel Nobel's factory, which had lived off the manufacture of war materiel. The factory went bankrupt, and Alfred's parents and their youngest son Emil moved back to Sweden. The three older sons stayed in St. Petersburg to put the family affairs in order and restructure the company. Faced with this situation, Alfred and his brothers discussed various conceivable projects with their former teachers. That was when Nikolai Zinin reminded them of the potential of nitroglycerine. Professor Zinin is said to have demonstrated the power of nitroglycerine by pouring a few drops of the fluid on an anvil, striking it with a hammer, and producing a loud bang. But only the liquid that came into contact with the hammer exploded. The rest of the liquid was not affected. The problem, as Sobrero had already realized, was two-fold. First, it was difficult to manufacture the compound, because at excessive temperatures the whole batch exploded. Second, once manufactured, the liquid was equally difficult to explode in a controlled fashion. During the years around 1860, Alfred conducted repeated experiments involving great risks. First, he succeeded in manufacturing sufficient quantities of nitroglycerine without any mishaps. Then, he mixed nitroglycerine with black gunpowder and ignited the mixture with an ordinary fuse. After several successful explosions outside St. Petersburg on the frozen Neva River, Alfred traveled back to Stockholm. There, his father had begun similar experiments (though with less success) after reading about Alfred's tests in his letters. Immanuel Nobel even insisted that the new mixture was his own idea, but he backed off from this assertion after a sharp letter from Alfred that set matters straight in no uncertain terms. Instead, he even helped Alfred apply for a patent in his own name. In October 1863, Alfred Nobel was granted a patent for the explosive that he aptly called "blasting oil."

With his first patent, Alfred had also reached his first milestone. Although he was only 30 years old, this was the start of an exciting adventure that would unfold with great speed. During the following spring and summer, Alfred continued his experiments. He soon obtained a new patent related to the manufacture of nitroglycerine (using a simplified method) as well as the use of a detonator, or what was called an "initial igniter," in other words a hollow wooden plug filled with black gunpowder (later called a "blasting cap"). The determination and self-confidence that would later become more pronounced features of Alfred's personality were already apparent. He wrote: "I am the first to have brought these subjects from the area of science to that of industry," and he successfully arranged a large loan from a French bank. Around the same time, the inventor also became an entrepreneur. Alfred dealt with failures in the same resolute manner as he did successes. In September 1864, a major explosion at the Nobel factory in Stockholm claimed the lives of Alfred's brother Emil and four other people. Just one month later, Alfred - resolutely and without sentimentality - founded his first joint stock company. Despite the accident or perhaps because of it, since no one could now doubt the explosive power of the new compound, orders began rolling in. The Swedish State Railways ordered blasting oil for use in building the Söder Tunnel in Stockholm. A year later, in 1865, Alfred improved his blasting cap (now made of metal rather than wood) which in principle is still of the same type used today. He then left for Germany, set up a company there and bought land outside Hamburg where he built a factory. In the summer of 1866, Alfred Nobel traveled to America. There he struggled against political bureaucracy, popular fear of accidents caused by explosives and, not least, dishonest business associates. In the end, he received patents, formed companies and built factories there. Despite slow communications, everything now happened very quickly. Events literally assumed explosive force. While Alfred was in America, his factory in Germany exploded. When he returned to Germany in August, he had to supervise the clean-up of the debris and plan a new building. At the same time, he continued to brood over the safety problems of nitroglycerine and he conducted new experiments. He realized that nitroglycerine had to be absorbed by some kind of porous material, forming a mixture that would be easier to handle. On the German moorlands very close to where he was staying, he found a type of porous, absorbent sand or diatomaceous earth known in German as Kieselguhr. When nitroglycerine was absorbed by Kieselguhr, it formed a paste that was easy to knead and shape. This paste could be shaped into rods that were easily inserted into drilling holes. It could also be transported and subjected to jolts without triggering explosions. It could even be ignited without anything happening. Only a blasting cap would cause the paste to explode. The disadvantage of this new substance was its somewhat reduced explosive force - the Kieselguhr did not participate as an active substance in the explosion. But this was the price one had to pay. In short, that was how Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. Incidentally, Alfred himself coined the word dynamite from the Greek dynamis, meaning power. One of his German colleagues had proposed the term "blasting putty" because it had the same consistency as putty. But Alfred thought this sounded like something meant to be used for blasting window panes, which was certainly not his intention. In 1867, he was granted patents for dynamite in various

countries, notably Britain, Sweden and the United States. Production was now set to begin on a large scale, and demand grew rapidly. It was an era of large infrastructure projects like railways, ports, bridges, roads, mines and tunnels, where blasting was necessary. For example, dynamite was of vital importance in the construction of the St. Gotthard tunnel through the Swiss Alps in the 1870s. In 1868, the year after the first patent for dynamite, Alfred Nobel and his father were awarded the Letterstedt Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. This prize, which Alfred valued highly, was awarded for "important discoveries of practical value to humanity." An echo of this wording can be heard in Nobel's will, where he stated the criteria for awarding his own prizes. In 1875, Alfred Nobel invented the gelignite, also known as blasting gelignite. Gelignite, also known as blasting gelatin, is an explosive material consisting of collodion-cotton (a type of nitrocellulose or gun cotton) dissolved in nitroglycerine and mixed with wood pulp and sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate. Its composition makes it easily moldable and safe to handle without protection, as long as it is not near anything capable of detonating it. One of the cheapest explosives, it burns slowly and cannot explode without a detonator, so it can be stored safely. Unlike dynamite, gelignite does not suffer from the dangerous problem of sweating, the leaking of unstable nitroglycerine from the solid matrix. Alfred Nobel had taken the decisive steps that led to honor and fame. All these events had taken place during the 10 years preceding 1973. At age 30, Alfred had received his first patent. In 1973, by age 40, he had already made his greatest discoveries, he had built up a worldwide industrial empire, he had become wealthy, and he had bought a large house in the center of Paris. The foundation was in place. He later made new discoveries - primarily blasting gelatin and ballistite - and his industrial enterprises, as well as his fortune, grew. His distinguishing quality was his versatility. He was an inventor, an industrialist and an administrator. He had to safeguard his patent rights, develop products, establish new companies, and conduct business in five languages with the rest of the world - without the help of a secretary and before the telephone and fax made people's lives easier. He frequently traveled by train or boat, since this was before the advent of the airplane. His factories exploded, he had to withstand negative publicity campaigns, and he unmasked deceitful business partners. He had to deal with all of this himself. In addition, he seldom felt well - he viewed himself as sickly and frail, often complaining of migraines, rheumatism and an unsettled stomach. His life was hectic and stressful. In letters he wrote from Paris, he complained of being constantly hounded by people, which he described in his own words as "pure torture." People are crazy, he wrote - they rushed in and out of his office, everyone wanted to see him, and his presence was required everywhere. But despite everything, he managed to cope. In the role of the entrepreneur, he was unbeatable. Alfred Nobel was not only a scientist but also a humanist and philosopher. He had literary interests and ambitions and was an avid reader of fiction and wrote his own dramatic works and poems. In addition, he was attracted to philosophical issues. He read

certain philosophical works with such interest that he underlined important passages. Among the papers that he left behind is a black notebook on philosophy that his biographers have not taken an interest in. Although not constituting profound original thoughts, these penciled notes reflect his serious interest in philosophical questions. Nobel went through philosophy from antiquity to modern times, pointing out what he perceived to be vital issues. He made his own comments, which in a morose way showed his detachment from the subject. He commented on Plato, Aristotle and Democritus, but also on Newton and Voltaire as well as contemporary biologists such as Darwin and Haeckel. Nobel noted, for example, that it was unclear what caused people to form a conception of a God: "Aristotle attributes it to fear, Voltaire to the desire of the more clever to deceive the stupid." He spoke with respect of the philosophical doubts of Descartes and Spinoza, adding that doubt must surely be the starting point for all philosophical thinking. Theories of knowledge were of special interest to Nobel. Consequently, he returned several times to Locke's thesis that all knowledge arises from sensory impressions, declaring that the "brain is a very unreliable recorder of impressions." This led him to reflect further on the methodology of science and to develop a line of reasoning that, aside from being inspired by Locke's thesis, also seemed to have been influenced by Alexander von Humboldt's theory of knowledge. Nobel wrote that all science is built on observations of similarities and differences. Nobel could have completed this train of thought with Humboldt's words that "from observation one goes on to experimentation....based on analogies and inductions of empirical laws." Nobel did not espouse any grand theory of knowledge, but rather an empirical method. Alfred Nobel himself seemed to think that he had accomplished quite a lot by applying this method in his work. Alfred Nobel also viewed himself with detachment, or philosophical skepticism. He often described himself as a loner, hermit, melancholic or misanthrope. He once wrote: "I am a misanthrope and yet utterly benevolent, have more than one screw loose yet am a superidealist who digests philosophy more efficiently than food." Even from this description, it is clear that this misanthrope was also a philanthropist, or what Nobel called a superidealist. It was the idealist in him that drove Nobel to bequeath his fortune to those who had benefited humanity through science, literature and efforts to promote peace. For Alfred Nobel, the idea of giving away his fortune was no passing fancy. He had thought about it for a long time and had even re-written his will on various occasions in order to weigh different wordings against each other. Efforts to promote peace were close to his heart, largely inspired by his contacts with Bertha von Suttner (herself a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1905). He derived intellectual pleasure from literature, while science built the foundation for his own activities as a technological researcher and inventor. On November 27, 1895, Nobel signed his final will and testament at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris.

Alfred Nobel had many different homes during the final decades of his life. In 1891, he had left Paris to live in San Remo, Italy, after controversies with the French authorities. Four years later, he purchased the Bofors ironworks and armaments factory in Sweden and established his Swedish home at nearby Björkborn Manor. He equipped all his residences with laboratories where he could continue his experiments. He was apparently homesick for Sweden but complained of the Swedish winter weather. His health began to falter. He visited doctors and health resorts more frequently, but never had time to heed their most important advice - "to rest and nurse my health," as he put it himself. On December 10, 1896, Alfred Nobel passed away at his home in San Remo. Nobel's will was hardly longer than one ordinary page. After listing bequests to relatives and other people close to him, Nobel declared that his entire remaining estate should be used to endow "prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind." His will attracted attention throughout the world. It was unusual at that time to donate large sums of money for scientific and charitable purposes. Many people also criticized the international character of the prizes, saying they should be restricted to Swedes. This would not have suited the cosmopolitan Alfred Nobel. Some of his relatives contested the will. Complicated legal and administrative matters also had to be sorted out. All this took time, but eventually it was all settled. In 1901, the first Nobel Prizes were awarded. The donor himself could hardly have dreamed of the impact that his benevolence would have in the future. The commemorative medal that has been struck for this occasion -- designed by the artist Rune Karlzon -- is intended to remind us of some of Alfred Nobel's various activities. The back of the medal shows a tunnel blasted by dynamite and a detonator or blasting cap. On the front of the medal is a portrait of Nobel, with the Latin inscription Creavit et promovit, which can be translated "He created and promoted." This sums up, in the briefest possible way, the remarkable accomplishments of Alfred Nobel. When Alfred Nobel's will was made known after his death in San Remo on 10 December 1896, and when it was disclosed that he had established a special peace prize, this immediately created a great international sensation. The name Nobel was connected with explosives and with inventions useful to the art of making war, but certainly not with questions related to peace.

Alfred Nobel's will prescribed that the Peace Prize was to be awarded by a committee of five persons chosen by the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) and should go to the person who accomplished "the most or the best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the promotion of peace congresses." In the literature on Alfred Nobel, there exist different interpretations of his ideas and involvement in the peace question. In some works it is claimed that the interest in peace

accompanied Alfred Nobel since his youth, in others that he did not come to reflect over questions of mankind's fate until quite late. Alfred Nobel had a clear view of what was happening in international politics during the second half of the 19th century. His own activity as an industrialist was to the utmost degree, international and it was vitally necessary for him to follow this development carefully. Important portions of his inventions and business activity were connected with conditions which affected war and peace. As a young man, Alfred was present when his father, Immanuel Nobel, constructed on the Russian Czar's account the first truly usable sea mines which came into use in midcentury during the Crimean War. Alfred's own great invention, dynamite, had not been developed with the idea of using it in war. However, this did not prevent it from soon being put to use in such a context as well. Dynamite was used, for example, in the Franco-Prussian War first by the Prussians, and later also by the French. This could possibly have been one of the reasons for Alfred Nobel including a category in the Nobel Prize for Peace. As the indirect cause for his death was the usage of his inventions for destructive purposes, not those intended by Nobel himself. Nobel had not expected nor foreseen his inventions used for the purposes they were later and this distressed him thus prompting him to include the Peace category in the Nobel Prizes. He thought it could negate at least a bit of all the destruction and hate in the world if the efforts of somebody working towards world peace and unity could be acknowledged and appreciated and encouraged to work towards bringing countries closer and effecting desirable change in the world. According to the Austrian countess Bertha von Suttner, Alfred Nobel, as early as their first meeting in Paris in 1876, had expressed his wish to produce material or a machine which would have such a devastating effect that war from then on, would be impossible. The point about deterrence later appeared among Nobel's ideas.


The Nobel Prize was established in the 1895 will of Swedish chemist and inventor Alfred Nobel; it was first awarded in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature,

and Peace in 1901. An associated prize, The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, was instituted by Sweden's central bank in 1968 and first awarded in 1969. The Nobel Prizes in the specific disciplines (Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature) and the Prize in Economics, which is commonly identified with them, are widely regarded as the most prestigious award one can receive in those fields. The Nobel Peace Prize conveys social prestige and is often politically controversial. The erroneous publication in 1888 of a premature obituary of Nobel by a French newspaper, condemning him for his invention of dynamite, is said to have brought about his decision to leave a better legacy after his death. The obituary stated Le marchand de la mort est mort ("The merchant of death is dead") and went on to say, "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday." On 27 November 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Nobel signed his last will and testament and set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes, to be awarded annually without distinction of nationality. He died of a stroke on 10 December 1896 at Sanremo, Italy. He left 31 million kronor to fund the prizes which, allowing for inflation, would be hundreds of millions of US dollars today. The first three of these prizes are awarded for eminence in physical science, chemistry and medical science or physiology; the fourth is for literary work "in an ideal direction" and the fifth is to be given to the person or society that renders the greatest service to the cause of international fraternity, in the suppression or reduction of standing armies, or in the establishment or furtherance of peace congresses. There is no prize awarded for mathematics. An endowment "in perpetuity" from Sveriges Riksbank covers the Nobel Foundation's administrative expenses associated with the prize and funds the monetary component of the award. Since 2001, the monetary portion of the Prize in Economics has been 10 million Swedish kronor (in January 2008, approx. US$1.6 million; 1.1 million Euro), equivalent to the amount given for the Nobel Prizes. Since 2006, Sveriges Riksbank has given the Nobel Foundation an annual grant of 6.5 million Swedish kronor (in January 2008, approx. US$1 million; 0.7 million Euro) for its administrative expenses associated with the prize as well as 1 million Swedish kronor (until the end of 2008) to include information about the prize on the Nobel Foundation's internet museum. One could say that Nobel’s view on the war deterring effect of the weapons and explosives was a comfortable way for him to defend his own activity. His understanding of conflict was not a structural one, but rather what one would characterise in modern terminology as actor-oriented, i.e. wars did not arise through structurally determined processes or contradiction of interests, but as a result of human acting, through different kinds of "accidents." War between nations was thus, to Nobel as a rule, nothing else than "enforced collective mise-en scène of individual battles for power." Nobel's contact with Bertha von Suttner obviously had its impact on his thinking, at least to a certain point. The countess was a driving force in the international peace movement

which developed in Europe during the latter part of the 19th century, and she tried energetically to get Nobel to engage himself in this activity, but with limited success. To be sure, he became a member of the Austrian Peace Association and supported it with money. But, as he frankly wrote to her, it was not money which was most needed, but a realistic program. In his own words: "Good wishes alone will not ensure peace." Despite his pronounced scepticism towards peace associations and peace congresses, Alfred Nobel continued to observe the peace work in Europe. He even employed a former Turkish diplomat, Aristarchi Bey, with the main task to keep Nobel au courant with the activities of the peace movements, including the study of new procedures of conflict resolution, for instance establishing some sort of international court. Some of these ideas have later recurred in international politics, then under the comprehensive designation of "collective security". The problem of the inventor's and scientist's social responsibility was taken up by Albert Einstein in a speech in 1945, after the atom bombs were dropped over Japan in August of that year. Einstein pointed out that the physicists in 1945 were in a situation which much resembled that in which Alfred Nobel once found himself. Einstein drew his conclusion from this: "Alfred Nobel invented an explosive more powerful than any then known -- an exceedingly effective means of destruction. To atone for this 'accomplishment' and to relieve his conscience, he instituted his award for the promotion of peace."


September – Nomination forms are sent out. The Nobel Committee sends out confidential forms to around 3,000 people — selected professors at universities around the world, Nobel Laureates, and members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, among others. February – Deadline for submission. The completed nomination forms must reach the Nobel Committee no later than 31 January of the following year. The Committee screens the nominations and selects the preliminary candidates. About 250–350 names are nominated as several nominators often submit the same name. March-May – Consultation with experts. The Nobel Committee sends the names of the preliminary candidates to specially appointed experts for their assessment of the candidates' work. June-August – Writing of the report. The Nobel Committee puts together the report with recommendations to be submitted to the Academy. The report is signed by all members of the Committee. September – Committee submits recommendations. The Nobel Committee submits its report with recommendations on the final candidates to the members of the Academy. The report is discussed at two meetings of the Physics Section of the Academy. October – Nobel Laureates are chosen. In early October, the Academy selects the Nobel Laureates in Physics through a majority vote. The decision is final and without appeal. The names of the Nobel Laureates are then announced.

December – Nobel Laureates receive their prize. The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony takes place on 10 December in Stockholm, where the Nobel Laureates receive their Nobel Prize, which consists of a Nobel Medal and Diploma, and a document confirming the prize amount.


The Nobel Prize, in general, and the Nobel Prize for Peace, in particular, has been the centre of several controversies and criticism for numerous unexpected inclusions and exclusions. One reason for this may be that the Nobel Peace Laureates have been controversial political figures and this has increased public attention and scrutiny on the national and international conflicts. On some occasions there have been strong criticism against the Norwegian Nobel Committee itself and the way its members are selected. The Formulation about the literary prize, "in an ideal direction", is cryptic and has caused much confusion. For many years, the Swedish Academy interpreted "ideal" as "idealistic" and used it as a reason not to give the prize to important but less romantic authors, such as Henrik Ibsen and Leo Tolstoy. This interpretation has since been revised, and the prize has been awarded to, for example, Dario Fo and José Saramago, who definitely do not belong to the camp of literary idealism. There was quite a lot of room for interpretation by the bodies he had named for deciding on the physical sciences and chemistry prizes, given that he had not consulted them before making the will. In his one-page testament, he stipulated that the money go to discoveries or inventions in the physical sciences and to discoveries or improvements in chemistry. He had opened the door to technological awards, but had not left instructions on how to deal with the distinction between science and technology. Since the deciding bodies he had chosen were more concerned with the former, it is not surprising that the prizes went to scientists and not to engineers, technicians or other inventors. In a sense, the technological prizes announced recently by the World Technology Network (not funded by the Nobel foundation) indirectly fill this gap. Some critics argue that the prestige of the Prize in economics derives in part from its association with the Nobel Prizes, an associate on that has often been a source of controversy. Among the most vocal critics are lawyer Peter Nobel, Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal and former Swedish minister of finance Kjell-Olof Feldt. One of the objection is that economics does not qualify as a science and another is that the selection of recipients for the Prize in Economics is biased towards mainstream economics. Apart from these, there have been several surprising inclusions and exclusions for the Nobel Prize in most categories.

Exclusions and Inclusions
1. Mahatma Gandhi – nominated 5 times between 1937 and 1948 but never received the prize. 2. Franz Hillenkamp and Michael Karas – achievements overlooked 3. Rosalind Franklin – came up with the helical structure of the DNA but awarded a Nobel Prize as she died before the others were awarded. 4. Nikola Tesla – Though the U.S. Patents Office awarded the patent for the radio to Tesla first, the Nobel Prize for its invention went to Marconi in 1909. 5. Lise Meitner – Contributed directly to the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939 but received no Nobel recognition.

6. Heinrich J. Matthaei broke the genetic code in 1961 but did not receive a Nobel Prize. 7. President Theodore Roosevelt – received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905 for helping negotiate an end to the Russo-Japanese War. 8. Henry A. Kissinger - received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his work on the Vietnam Peace Accords, despite having instituted the secret 1969–1975 campaign of bombing against infiltrating NVA in Cambodia.

1. Carl von Ossietzky 2. Jean-Paul Sartre 3. Le Duc Tho

Lack of a Nobel Prize in Mathematics
There is no Nobel Prize in Mathematics; this has lead to considerable speculation about why Nobel omitted that. Though several theories have been formulated none has been proved beyond doubt.

Emphasis on discovery over inventions
Alfred Nobel left a fortune to finance annual prizes to be awarded "to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind". One part, he stated, should be given "to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics".


He was Alfred Nobel was an ambitious man who was not only passionate about his work but also a shrewd entrepreneur and businessman. He also proved to be a humanist and philanthropist, though most records give us information about his philanthropy only after his death in the form of the famous and esteemed Nobel Prizes. Whatever was the driving force behind Alfred Nobel which made him introduce the Nobel Prizes, be it his guilty conscience or just pain on seeing so much bloodshed in the world, it has directed some of the resources on our planet in the right direction and made us all strive to make this world a better planet and us better humans.

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