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The Nobel Prize is regarded as the highest honour in the world. The six categories in which this award is granted are physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economics, and peace prize. These awards first appeared in 1901. The first Nobel Prize winners each received 150,782 SEK. The Nobel laureates received a prize of 9,000,000 SEK in 2017.

The Noble Figures of the Nobel Prize

There are a total of 597 Nobel awards have been given to 950 Nobel Laureates between the years 1901 to 2019.

It is well-known that nine Indians or people of Indian ancestry have won the Nobel Prize so far; Rabindra Nath Tagore was the first Indian to win the award.

Each of this year’s Nobel Prize winners will receive 10 million

Swedish kronor in addition to their 18-karat gold medal. That’s $911,765.


Alfred Bernhard Nobel, an engineer and inventor, was born in Stockholm, Sweden on October 21, 1833.

Alfred Nobel is best known for inventing dynamite and an explosive device known as a blasting cap, which paved the way for the modern use of high explosives. He also established the Nobel Prize.


However, one particular incident left him with a tortured conscience, forever altering his life. According to legend, while visiting Cannes in 1888, Ludwig, one of Alfred’s brothers, died of an intracerebral hemorrhage. A French newspaper misidentified the deceased as Alfred and published a scathing obituary titled “The Merchant of Death is Dead.” It condemned him for his inventions, branding him the wealthiest vagabond in Europe who had made a fortune by mutilating and killing innocent people. Almost every newspaper seemed to revel in his supposed demise. The error was later corrected, but life had provided him with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to read his obituary. What he read in the newspaper shocked him and left an indelible impression on him.


The devastation caused him to reconsider, and he realised that the result of his life’s work would be global condemnation. Fame and fortune had become a burden. He began to question himself, “Is this how posterity will remember me?” “Will this be the legacy I leave behind?”

He became concerned about his posthumous reputation and resolved to leave a positive legacy. Alfred and his assistant began working on his will in 1893 and continued for the next two years. In a four-page document, he bequeathed over 94% of his fortune to establish the Nobel Foundation. Nobel was extremely wealthy by the time he wrote his will and owned over 100 factories that produced explosives and munitions. But this was not how he wanted to be remembered. Now was the time for a much-needed change. His sole intention was to work for humanity; to reward all those who have worked selflessly for society and have provided the greatest benefit to mankind. 


The Nobel Foundation established five categories for awarding prizes: Chemistry, Literature, Medicine, Physics, and Peace. These were to be presented without regard to nationality or ethnicity. Then, on November 27th, 1895, Alfred signed the testament unlike any other and officially donated 35 million Swedish kronor to the Foundation, which now amounts to nearly 265 million dollars.

His final testament expressed regret and a renewed commitment to work for the Peace movement. This is how an incorrect obituary and a mistaken identity changed the fate of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor and industrialist, and made his legacy synonymous with peace. Even a minor incident can have a significant impact on a person’s life.

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