NOBEL PRIZE DAY
On December 10th, Nobel Prize Day recognizes the annual award established by Alfred Nobel. Alfred Nobel signed his third and last will at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris on November 27, 1895. When it was opened and read after his death, the will caused a lot of controversy both in Sweden and internationally, as Nobel had left much of his wealth to establish a prize. His family opposed creating the Nobel Prize, and the prize awarders he named refused to do what he had requested in his will. It was five years before the first Nobel Prize could be awarded in 1901.
Who Funds the Awards?
At the age of 17, Swedish Alfred Nobel spoke five languages fluently and became an inventor and businessman. At the time of his death on 10 December 1896, he had 355 patents worldwide – one of them was the patent on dynamite. Furthermore, he had started 87 companies all over the world. In his will, Nobel directed his enormous fortune to be used to establish prizes to award those who had done their best to benefit humankind. Each prize would recognize the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. In 1901, the Nobel Prize committee awarded the first prizes five years after Nobel’s death. The committee added another prize in 1969: “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.”
The Award Ceremonies
Each year on 10 December, a ceremony is held in Stockholm, Sweden on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. In 1901, the committee kept the first winners secret until the 10 December ceremony. Since then, the committee announces the Nobel Laureates in October each year. In December, they gather in Stockholm for the ceremony and receive their prizes from the Swedish King. The winners receive a Nobel diploma, a medal, and 10 million Swedish crowns per prize. All Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, with the exception of the Peace Prize. The recipient of the Peace Prize receives the award in Oslo, Norway. (When Alfred Nobel was alive, Norway and Sweden were united under one monarch. In 1905, Norway became an independent kingdom with its own king.)
HOW TO OBSERVE #NobelPrizeDay
Watch the ceremonies live online. You can also discover more about the prize and Alfred Nobel himself.
- Read Alfred Nobel: A Biography by Kenne Fant or Nobel: A Century of Prize Winners edited by Michael Worek.
- Watch Mr. Dynamite directed by Olle Häger and Hans Villius, or Alfred, directed by Vilgot Sjöman.
- Learn more about past winners and how their contributions impact humanity.
- What criteria does the committee use to select the winners?
- Discuss the controversy behind these prizes.
Use #NobelPrizeDay to post on social media.
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been awarded annually on December 10th.