How the Nobel Prize was established

In 1890, the famous Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel announced his desire to establish a prize to "promote the ideals of peace."

In the last years of his life, Nobel drew up several wills, in which he consistently reduced the share of the inheritance for relatives and increased the amount that was to be received by the Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. One of the richest people of his time, A. Nobel, declared that big money received by inheritance leads to the stupefaction of the human race.

The millionaire made his last will on November 27, 1895. The relatives found out about its contents only in January 1897, when the will was opened. The text of the document shocked them. Nobel left to close people only small amounts, and the rest of the capital was divided into five equal parts. Interest on this money was to be allocated:

  • For the most important discoveries or inventions in the field of physics.
  • For major chemical inventions and improvements.
  • For the most important discoveries in the field of physiology and medicine.
  • For the most perfect works in the field of literature. For promoting the fraternal rapprochement of peoples.
  • Later, on the initiative of the Swedish Bank, another, sixth, Nobel Prize for achievements in the economy was established.

In Nobel's will, it was especially noted that the nationality of the applicants should not be taken into account, and the truly worthy should receive the award.

At the time of the death of the founder of the Nobel Prizes, his fortune was estimated at more than 30 million Swedish kronor. Relatives received by will 1 million, about 500 thousand went to friends and servants. All the rest of the money went to the Nobel Prize Fund.

On June 20, 1900, the charter of the foundation was established by decree of the King of Sweden. The money was invested in profitable enterprises, targeted loans and government bonds. The profit received from them allows annually to pay the Nobel laureates prizes. The ceremony takes place on December 10 - the day of the death of Alfred Nobel.

The first awards ceremony took place in 1901. The laureates were: German physicist W. Roentgen, chemist from Holland J. Van't Hoff, microbiologist E. von Bering from Germany, French poet R. Suli-Prudhomme. The Peace Prize was received by the initiator of the creation of the International Red Cross, Swiss A. Dunant.

The first Russian scientist to receive the Nobel Prize was the physiologist I. I. Pavlov. Members of the Nobel Committee began to get acquainted with his works in 1902. Two years later, Pavlov became a Nobel laureate for his work "in the field of digestion"

An interesting fact, a widespread misconception is that the Nobel Prize is not awarded to mathematicians because Alfred Nobel's wife cheated on him with the mathematician. But Alfred Nobel was never married and no one took a woman away from him. The prize is not given to mathematicians, because Nobel believes that award-winning discoveries and inventions should be of immediate benefit to everyone. That is, the prize was created for inventors, and mathematics was excluded as an abstract science.