How Nobel Prize Started
Alfred Nobel was born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, into a family of engineers. He was a chemist, engineer and inventor. Nobel amassed a fortune during his lifetime, most of it from his 355 inventions, of which dynamite is the most famous. In 1888, Alfred had the unpleasant surprise of reading his own obituary, titled ‘The Merchant of Death is Dead’, in a French newspaper. As it was, Alfred’s brother, Ludvig, had died.
Alfred was disappointed with what he read; and he grew concerned about how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his will. To widespread surprise, Nobel’s last will requested that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the ‘greatest benefit on mankind’ in physics, chemistry, peace, physiology or medicine and literature. Nobel bequeathed 94 per cent of his total assets to establish the five Nobel Prizes.
Source: “Mastering Essay & Answer Writing for UPSC Civil Services IAS/ IPS & State PSC Main Exam” by Dr Awdhesh Singh, available at