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photoAlfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist and the inventor of dynamite. Nobel recognized the destructive power of dynamite, but hoped that such power would lead to an end to warfare. However, dynamite was quickly exploited to develop newer, more deadly weapons. Not wanting to be remembered as the “merchant of death”, an epitaph given him by a French newspaper in a mistaken obituary, Nobel wrote his will such that it would establish prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” A sixth category, economics, was added in 1969. It took some time to implement Nobel’s wishes. The first Nobel prize was awarded in 1901, which was five years after Alfred Nobel’s death. Note that the Nobel prize can only be won by individuals, there can be no more than three winners in a given year, and money is split equally between multiple winners.

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