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The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to
Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist. He held 355 different patents NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a title A title ...

Alfred Nobel
's
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's ( testator) wishes as to how their property (estate (law), estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which ...
of 1895, are awarded to "those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to Mankind."
Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist. He held 355 different patents NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a title A title ...

Alfred Nobel
was a
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langua ...
chemist, engineer, and industrialist most famously known for the invention of
dynamite Dynamite is an explosive made of nitroglycerin, sorbents (such as powdered shells or clay) and Stabilizer (chemistry), stabilizers. It was invented by the Swedish people, Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel in Geesthacht, Northern Germany ...

dynamite
. He died in 1896. In his will, he bequeathed all of his "remaining realisable assets" to be used to establish five prizes which became known as "Nobel Prizes." Nobel Prizes were first awarded in 1901. Nobel Prizes are awarded in the fields of
Physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of eve ...
,
Chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a with other . ...
, Physiology or Medicine,
Literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expan ...
, and
Peace upStatue of Eirene, goddess of peace in ancient Greek religion, with her son Pluto. Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility Hostility is seen as form of emotionally charged aggressive behavior. In ...
(Nobel characterized the Peace Prize as "to the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses"). In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden's central bank) funded the establishment of the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, to also be administered by the
Nobel Foundation The Nobel Foundation ( sv, Nobelstiftelsen) is a private institution founded on 29 June 1900 to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. The Foundation is based on the last will of Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ...
. Nobel Prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards available in their respective fields. Shalev, p. 8 The prize ceremonies take place annually. Each recipient (known as a "
laureate In English, the word laureate has come to signify eminence or association with literary awards or Military awards and decorations, military glory. It is also used for recipients of the Nobel Prize, the Gandhi Peace Award, the Student Peace Prize, ...

laureate
") receives a gold medal, a
diploma A diploma is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as college or university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study. The word diploma also refers to an academic award w ...

diploma
, and a monetary award. In 2021, the Nobel Prize monetary award is 10,000,000 SEK. A prize may not be shared among more than three individuals, although the Nobel Peace Prize can be awarded to organizations of more than three people. Although Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it, the prize is presented. The Nobel Prizes, beginning in 1901, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, beginning in 1969, have been awarded 603 times to 962 people and 25 organizations. Four individuals have received more than one Nobel Prize.


History

Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist. He held 355 different patents NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a title A title ...

Alfred Nobel
() was born on 21 October 1833 in
Stockholm Stockholm (; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Stockholm
, Sweden, into a family of engineers. Levinovitz, p. 5 He was a
chemist A chemist (from Greek ''chēm(ía)'' alchemy; replacing ''chymist'' from Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European la ...

chemist
,
engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The dis ...

engineer
, and
inventor An invention is a unique or novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or ...

inventor
. In 1894, Nobel purchased the
Bofors Bofors AB ( , , ) is a Swedish and later British arms manufacturer The arms industry, also known as the arms trade, is a global industry classification, industry which manufacturing, manufactures and sells weapons and military technology, an ...
iron and steel mill, which he made into a major
armaments A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement, self-defe ...
manufacturer Manufacturing is the creation or production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (g ...
. Nobel also invented
ballistite Ballistite is a smokeless propellant made from two high explosives, nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. It was developed and patented by Alfred Nobel in the late 19th century. Military adoption Alfred Nobel patented Ballistite in 1887 while he was ...
. This invention was a precursor to many smokeless military explosives, especially the British smokeless powder
cordite Cordite is a family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom since 1889 to replace gunpowder Gunpowder, also known as the retronym black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest ...

cordite
. As a consequence of his patent claims, Nobel was eventually involved in a
patent infringement A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of years in exchange for publishing an sufficiency of disclosure, enabling disclo ...
lawsuit A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil ...
over cordite. Nobel amassed a fortune during his lifetime, with most of his wealth coming from his 355 inventions, of which
dynamite Dynamite is an explosive made of nitroglycerin, sorbents (such as powdered shells or clay) and Stabilizer (chemistry), stabilizers. It was invented by the Swedish people, Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel in Geesthacht, Northern Germany ...

dynamite
is the most famous. Levinovitz, p. 11 In 1888, Nobel was astonished to read his own
obituary An obituary ( obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a person, typically along with an account of the person's life and information about the upcoming funeral. In large cities and larger newspapers, obituaries are ...
, titled "The merchant of death is dead", in a French newspaper. It was Alfred's brother
Ludvig Ludvig is a Scandinavia Scandinavia, Sami languages, Sami: ''Skadesi-suolu''/''Skađsuâl'' ( ) is a Subregion#Europe, subregion in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In English usage, ''Scandinavia'' c ...

Ludvig
who had died; the obituary was eight years premature. The article disconcerted Nobel and made him apprehensive about how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's ( testator) wishes as to how their property (estate (law), estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which ...
. On 10 December 1896, Alfred Nobel died in his villa in San Remo, Italy, from a
cerebral haemorrhage Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), also known as cerebral bleed and intraparenchymal bleed, is a sudden bleeding into intraparenchymal bleed, the tissues of the brain, into its intraventricular hemorrhages, ventricles, or into both.https://my.clevela ...
. He was 63 years old. Sohlman, p. 13 Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime. He composed the last over a year before he died, signing it at the Swedish–Norwegian Club in Paris on 27 November 1895. Sohlman, p. 7 To widespread astonishment, Nobel's last will specified that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the "greatest benefit on mankind" in
physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of eve ...

physics
,
chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a with other . ...

chemistry
,
physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, know ...
or
medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

medicine
,
literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expan ...

literature
, and
peace upStatue of Eirene, goddess of peace in ancient Greek religion, with her son Pluto. Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility Hostility is seen as form of emotionally charged aggressive behavior. In ...

peace
. Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million SEK (c. US$186 million, €150 million in 2008), to establish the five Nobel Prizes. Abrams, p. 7 Owing to skepticism surrounding the will, it was not approved by the
Storting The Storting ( no, Stortinget ) is the supreme legislature of Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard ...

Storting
in
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: : ''Norge'' ; : '; Official names in minority languages: : ''Norga''; ''Vuodna''; : ''Nöörje''; fkv, Norja is a in , the territory of which compr ...

Norway
until 26 April 1897. Levinovitz, pp. 13–25 The
executors An executor is someone who is responsible for executing, or following through on, an assigned task or duty. The feminine form, executrix, may sometimes be used. Overview An executor is a legal term referring to a person named by the maker of a w ...
of the will,
Ragnar SohlmanRagnar Sohlman (February 26, 1870 in Stockholm Stockholm is the Capital city, capital of Sweden. It has the most populous urban area in Sweden as well as in Scandinavia. 1 million people live in the Stockholm Municipality, municipality, appr ...
and Rudolf Lilljequist, formed the
Nobel Foundation The Nobel Foundation ( sv, Nobelstiftelsen) is a private institution founded on 29 June 1900 to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. The Foundation is based on the last will of Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ...
to take care of the fortune and to organise the awarding of prizes. Abrams, pp. 7–8 Nobel's instructions named a
Norwegian Nobel Committee , logo = , size = , motto = , formation = , headquarters = Oslo Oslo ( , also , , rarely ) is the Capital city, capital and List of towns and cities in Norway, most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a ...
to award the
Peace Prize This list of peace prizes is an index to articles on notable prizes awarded for contributions towards achieving or maintaining peace. The list is organized by region and country of the sponsoring organization, but many of the prizes are open to peo ...
, the members of whom were appointed shortly after the will was approved in April 1897. Soon thereafter, the other prize-awarding organizations were designated. These were
Karolinska Institute The Karolinska Institute (KI; sv, Karolinska Institutet; sometimes known as the (Royal) Caroline Institute in English) is a research-led Medical school, medical university in Solna Municipality, Solna within the Stockholm urban area of Sweden. T ...
on 7 June, the Swedish Academy on 9 June, and the
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences ( Swedish: ''Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien'') is one of the royal academies of Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic co ...
on 11 June. Crawford, p. 1 The Nobel Foundation reached an agreement on guidelines for how the prizes should be awarded; and, in 1900, the Nobel Foundation's newly created
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare Public po ...

statute
s were promulgated by
King Oscar II Oscar II (Oscar Fredrik; 21 January 1829 – 8 December 1907) was King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state of Sweden,See the #IOG, Instrument of Government, Chapter 1, Article 5. which is a constitutional m ...

King Oscar II
. In 1905, the personal union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved.


Nobel Foundation


Formation of Foundation

According to his will and testament read in Stockholm on 30 December 1896, a foundation established by Alfred Nobel would reward those who serve humanity. The Nobel Prize was funded by Alfred Nobel's personal fortune. According to the official sources, Alfred Nobel bequeathed most of his fortune to the Nobel Foundation that now forms the economic base of the Nobel Prize. The
Nobel Foundation The Nobel Foundation ( sv, Nobelstiftelsen) is a private institution founded on 29 June 1900 to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. The Foundation is based on the last will of Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ...
was founded as a private organization on 29 June 1900. Its function is to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. Levinovitz, p. 14 In accordance with Nobel's
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's ( testator) wishes as to how their property (estate (law), estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which ...
, the primary task of the foundation is to manage the fortune Nobel left.
Robert The name Robert is an ancient Germanic given nameGermanic given names are traditionally dithematic; that is, they are formed from two elements, by joining a prefix A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word. Adding it ...

Robert
and
Ludvig Nobel Ludvig Immanuel Nobel ( ; russian: Лю́двиг Эммануи́лович Нобе́ль, Ljúdvig Emmanuílovich Nobél’; sv, Ludvig Emmanuel Nobel ; 27 July 1831 – 12 April 1888) was a Swedish-Russian engineering, engineer, a noted busin ...

Ludvig Nobel
were involved in the oil business in
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan ( az, Azərbaycan Respublikası ), is a country in the Transcaucasia, Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is boun ...

Azerbaijan
, and according to Swedish
historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are con ...
E. Bargengren, who accessed the
Nobel family The Nobel family ( , ) is a prominent Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet ...
archive An archive is an accumulation of Historical document, historical records – in any media – or the physical facility in which they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual ...

archive
, it was this "decision to allow withdrawal of Alfred's money from
Baku Baku (, ; az, Bakı, ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and s ...

Baku
that became the decisive factor that enabled the Nobel Prizes to be established". Another important task of the Nobel Foundation is to market the prizes internationally and to oversee informal administration related to the prizes. The foundation is not involved in the process of selecting the
Nobel laureates Nobel laureates of 2012 Alvin E. Roth, Brian Kobilka, Robert J. Lefkowitz, David J. Wineland, and Serge Haroche during the ceremony The Nobel Prizes ( sv, Nobelpriset, no, Nobelprisen) are prizes awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy o ...
. Levinovitz, p. 15
Feldman Feldman is a German language, German and Ashkenazi Jewish surname. Notable people with the surname include: Academics * Arthur Feldman (born 1949), American cardiologist * David B. Feldman, American psychologist * David Feldman (historian), Americ ...
, p. 16
In many ways, the Nobel Foundation is similar to an
investment company An investment company is a financial institution principally engaged in investing in security (finance), securities. These companies in the United States are regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and must be registered under the ...
, in that it invests Nobel's money to create a solid funding base for the prizes and the administrative activities. The Nobel Foundation is exempt from all taxes in Sweden (since 1946) and from investment taxes in the United States (since 1953). Levinovitz, pp. 17–18 Since the 1980s, the foundation's investments have become more profitable and as of 31 December 2007, the assets controlled by the Nobel Foundation amounted to 3.628 billion Swedish ''kronor'' (c. US$560 million). Levinovitz, pp. 15–17 According to the statutes, the foundation consists of a board of five Swedish or Norwegian citizens, with its seat in Stockholm. The
Chairman of the Board The chairperson (also chair, chairman, or chairwoman) is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a Board of directors, board, committee, or deliberative assembly. The person holding the office, who is typically elected or appointed b ...

Chairman of the Board
is appointed by the Swedish
King in Council The King-in-Council or the Queen-in-Council, depending on the gender of the reigning monarch, is a constitutional term in a number of states. In a general sense, it would mean the monarch exercising executive authority, usually in the form of app ...
, with the other four members appointed by the
trustee Trustee (or the holding of a trusteeship) is a legal term {{Short pages monitor Academic awards Alfred Nobel Articles containing video clips Awards established in 1895 International awards Science and technology in Sweden Science and technology awards Swedish science and technology awards Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 1895 establishments in Sweden