Saturday, September 10, 2011

Interesting Anecdote

Everybody knows about the Nobel Prize.  What most people don't know is the story behind it.

Well, for starters, the Nobel Prize is named after Alfred Nobel.  Mr. Nobel was famous in his own time but it wasn't because of the Peace Prize (those wouldn't be established until after his death).  Have any idea what he was famous for?  He was the inventor of dynamite.  That's right,  the namesake of  the most prestigious peace prize in the world comes from the inventor of dynamite.

How did this happen?  Well, the story goes that Alfred's brother Ludvig was on a trip to Cannes when he suddenly died.  Alfred traveled there to collect his brother's body and while there noticed that one of the local obituaries had mistakenly reported that Alfred Nobel had died. 

The article was unflattering.  "The Merchant of Death is Dead" read the title.  It went on to say "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday."  Imagine what an eerie feeling that must have been; to read your own obituary. 

Needless to say he was saddened by what he read concerned with what kind of legacy he was gonna leave behind.  It was then that he decided to set apart much of his fortune in his will to creating the foundation for the Nobel Prizes.  Altogether the prizes are awarded for International Fraternity (Peace), Physical Science, Chemistry, Medicine, and Literature.

It's an interesting story.  A sort of Christmas Carol conversion story.  It makes think about how you might be remembered and what sort of things are important to be remembered for.

1 comment:

  1. Well you can't have peace without dynamite - it's a no brainer.