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Alfred Nobel’s last will and testament

AFP/The Local · 3 Oct 2011, 11:24

Published: 03 Oct 2011 11:24 GMT+02:00

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His 1895 testament stipulated his fortune was to be placed in a fund destined to honour "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind."

He died a year later in San Remo, Italy.

He had decreed the bulk of his estate should be invested in "safe securities," and as a result, some 31.5 million Swedish kronor, the equivalent today of about 1.5 billion kronor ($222 million) were used to create the Nobel Foundation.

Nobel's will specified that the prizes should be divided into five equal parts, apportioned as follows for the physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace prizes:

"One part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

But when Nobel died childless and the will was read, the contents surprised many, including his own family. The document was challenged by two nephews who tried to have it declared null and void, and even King Oscar II of Sweden opposed Nobel's wishes, saying they were not "patriotic minded."

Adding to the confusion, Nobel had not appointed an executor for the testament, nor had he consulted the various institutions he had assigned to award the prizes to ensure that they were willing to undertake the task.

After more than three years of haggling, the Nobel Foundation was created to manage the capital in Nobel's estate and the five institutions agreed to award the prizes as Nobel had wished.

Story continues below…

Since 1901, the year the first Nobel prizes were awarded, the Foundation has funded the prestigious awards created by their namesake.

The Nobel Prize for Economics, the only award not included in Nobel's will, is funded by the Swedish Central Bank, which created the prize at its tercentenary in 1968. It was first awarded in 1969.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:35 October 3, 2011 by philster61
Love the juxtaposition. Man invents an explosive powerful enough to destroy the earth, makes a fortune and then gets a guilty conscience.....
21:51 October 4, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
Yes, that is exactly what troubled him. He suffered from migraine headaches over it. This, his awards, was a way he sought to make things "right" with the world he "made".
07:45 October 7, 2011 by eldras
Wasn't like that at all. Nobel thought the way to end war was to win the arms race decisively.
12:54 October 7, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter
There are 2 questions that bug my mind, and I would appreciate a straight answer from anyone:

"what business is the Nobel Foundation actively engaged in that enables it generate all these bucks to sponsor the awards annually?"

" Does the Foundation sell dangerous explosives to belligerent entities to keep the Nobel Cash Basket afloat?"

Please, dear readers, your answers shall be helpful
10:19 October 8, 2011 by shahislam
Dear friends, it is another proof: how God works through human for the mankind. Everything happens for some reasons. Ahmad's death actually has made it easy to bring some, protected by out of date laws, including all the heartless and dangerous minded US politicians under justice.

Doesn't matter internal or foreign affairs, plot to commit crimes against humanity or planning, inciting bloodshed in foreign lands, manufacturing and training on mankind killing machines etc. were matters of uncivilized times, therefore, in the light of evolved collective intellectuality of the present time, are being viewed as nothing less than

crimes and the human heads-whether the top bosses such as a chair of a municipality or even an ex-President or Prime-minister of a country must face justice.

Obama still has the moral strength to smile happily and may set the first step to amend the laws and policies in this regard as Gun or Oil business-money is not the reason he is in politics today and I think, if his endeavors are misunderstood by majority of US and Global public he as a non-violent type writer and a peace loving person may happily decide to say good bye to Nasty political leadership and the fighting!
20:19 October 10, 2011 by jgmouton
These days, Nobel Prizes have lost their meanings because they are just politics.
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