The famous Nobel Prize is undoubtedly the most prestigious award in the world. It is awarded annually to people for cultural, academic and scientific achievements. Among its recipients are such celebrities as Wilhelm Roentgen - the inventor of X-rays, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Russian scientist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, theoretical physicist Albert Einstein ...
As you know, the Nobel Prize was founded by Alfred Nobel, but few people know the history that preceded this.
Alfred Nobel was born in 1833 in Stockholm, the son of an engineer. His father, Emanuel Nobel, specialized in the construction of tunnels and bridges. When Alfred grew up, he began working with his brothers in his father's family business. In those days, explosive devices such as nitroglycerin and gunpowder were used to build roads in mountainous areas. But the problem was that nitroglycerin was extremely dangerous to transport to distant places, since it is very sensitive to even small fluctuations. So, in 1864, when workers were loading nitroglycerin at their father's factory, an explosion occurred, which took the lives of six people, including Alfred's brother, Emil Nobel.
After the accident, young Alfred began to think about how to make the explosive device safer, more powerful, but easy to transport. With some knowledge of chemistry, he began to experiment. Until one day, nitroglycerin accidentally spilled on the sedimentary rock diatomite. The result was the expected mix that was easy to transport. In addition, in terms of the force of the explosion, it was not inferior to nitroglycerin. Over time, using a few more other substances in addition, Alfred Nobel patented an explosive device, which he initially named: Nobel's Safe Gunpowder. And after a while, Alfred decided to give his invention the Greek name Dynamite, which means strength. This substance instantly became popular, as it could be easily used for various purposes. Nobel actively advertised his discovery. He held public demonstrations of the new explosive and also lectured on how it works.
In a short time, the invention of dynamite brought fame and big money to Alfred. At first, dynamite was used commercially to blow up mines, build roads and demolish old buildings. But later, seeing its strength and potential, dynamite began to be actively used for military purposes. Despite the fact that Alfred professed pacifist ideas, the temptation of big money led to the fact that he opened more than ninety factories and factories for the manufacture of dynamite and other types of explosive weapons.
In 1888, during treatment in Cannes, Alfred's elder brother Ludwig Nobel died. Then, by mistake of reporters, one of the French newspapers, instead of an obituary for Ludwig, published an obituary for Alfred Nobel. The title read: "The Merchant of Death is Dead!" And in the article itself, the author harshly criticized Alfred for his invention of dynamite and for the many deaths that followed. The author was indignant that Alfred Nobel got fabulously rich because he invented a way to destroy the maximum number of people in the shortest possible time. The inventor was called "a millionaire in blood", "a merchant of death" and "a dynamite king".
Alfred Nobel was shocked by what he read. He was so upset that he decided to leave a completely different glory about himself after his death! Alfred sincerely wanted to be remembered not as the inventor of powerful weapons, but as a person who put his life into achieving peace on earth!
Testament of Good
On November 27, 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian club in Paris, Alfred signed a will, according to which about 31 million Swedish marks (today - about $ 472 million) - 94% of his fortune - were to go to the establishment of awards for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, as well as for peacebuilding activities.
The testament read: “I, the undersigned, Alfred Bernhard Nobel, having considered and decided, hereby declare my will on the property acquired by me ... My executors must transfer capital into securities by creating a fund, interest from which will be issued as a bonus to those who brought the greatest benefit to humanity during the previous year.
The indicated percentages should be divided into five equal parts, which are intended: the first part to the one who made the most important discovery or invention in the field of physics, the second - in the field of chemistry, the third - in the field of physiology or medicine, the fourth - to the one who created the most significant literary work reflecting human ideals, the fifth - to the one who will make a significant contribution to the unity of peoples, the abolition of slavery, the reduction of the number of existing armies and the promotion of a peace agreement.
… My special desire is that the nationality of the candidate should not influence the awarding of the prizes, so that the most worthy people will receive the prizes, regardless of whether they are Scandinavians or not ”*.
This is how the most prestigious award in the world - the Nobel Prize - was born.
Today, the annual Nobel Prize winners are awarded a gold medal depicting Alfred Nobel and a cash prize that is equivalent to $ 1.4 million!
It is said that before the Nobel Prize was approved, despite his millions of dollars, Alfred suffered from depression. He was never married and had no close friends. His only friend was Nathan Söderblum, a Protestant church minister in Paris. According to the stories of knowledgeable people, it was he who played a big role in the fact that Alfred was retrained from a gunsmith to a philanthropist. By listening to Soderblum's sermons, as well as regularly attending church and doing charity work, Alfred improved his emotional state.
Many people do not have $ 472 million to institute something like the Nobel Prize, but selflessly doing good to others, they leave an indelible mark. John Maxwell once said: "There are two most important days in a person's life - the first, when he was born, and the second, when he found out why."