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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

First Nobel Prizes

This Day in History: December 10, 1901

First Nobel Prize Ceremony
first nobel prize ceremony.jpg
by laraphds
We have all more than likely heard about the Nobel Prize, whether in school or reported via news media. Do you know how it all got started, by whom and for what reason?

1862 - 1863 Swedish Chemist and Inventor Alfred Nobel began experimenting with nytroglycerine, created his first explosive and patented the "Nobel Lighter."

1867 - Alfred invented a newer and 'safer' explosive - dynamite.


Alfred Nobel recognized the destructive power of dynamite, yet believed it was a harbinger of peace. Alfred told Bertha von Suttner, an advocate for world peace,
My factories may make an end of war sooner than your congresses. The day when two army corps can annihilate each other in one second, all civilized nations, it is to be hoped, will recoil from war and discharge their troops.
1896 - Of course, we all know it did not lead to world peace nor did Alfred ever see peace in his lifetime. He died on December 10, 1896 after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 63.

Alfred Nobel never married but did leave a will declaring his wishes for disbursement of his fortune acquired during his lifetime. Incompleteness of the will along with many questionable areas plus other obstacles led to dispute and final settlement five years later: 94% of his multimillion dollar worth was bequeathed to the establishment of five prizes (physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace) to "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind."

1901 - The Nobel Foundation was established and the first prizes awarded:

Chemistry: Jacobus H. van't Hoff
Physics: Wilhelm C. Röntgen
Physiology or Medicine: Emil A. von Behring
Literature: Rene F. A. Sully Prudhomme
Peace: Jean H. Dunant and Frédéric Passy

The reason for this decision is quite a story in itself...

A pacifist at heart and an inventor by nature, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. However, the invention that he thought would end all wars was seen by many others as an extremely deadly product. In 1888, when Alfred's brother Ludvig died, a French newspaper mistakenly ran an obituary for Alfred which called him the "merchant of death."
Not wanting to go down in history with such a horrible epitaph, Nobel created a will that soon shocked his relatives and established the now famous Nobel Prizes. ~History of the Nobel Prizes.

  

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