Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel -
The Man Behind
the Nobel Prize

Lists of Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Alfred Nobel 1833-1896

Established the Nobel Prizes "for the Greatest Benefit to Mankind"

Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been honoring men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and for work in peace. The foundations for the prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize. But who was Alfred Nobel? Articles, photographs, a slide show and poetry written by Nobel himself are presented here to give a glimpse of a man whose varied interests are reflected in the prize he established.

All articles about Alfred Nobel


Known for: The inventor of dynamite and holder of 355 patents.
Born: 21 October 1833.
Died: 10 December 1896.
Languages: Spoke five languages fluently at the age of 17.
Professions: Swedish chemist, inventor, engineer, entrepreneur, business man, author and pacifist.
Fortune: In his will he left 31 million SEK (today about 265 million dollar) to fund the prizes.

The Life of Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel and his family

Alfred Nobel's Life

When Alfred was five years old his father moved to St. Petersburg in Russia. Alfred joined him a few years later.

Early years in St. Petersburg
Alfred Nobel as a baby

Alfred Nobel's Life - for Grade Schoolers

On 21 October 1833 a baby boy was born in Stockholm, Sweden, who was to become the founder of the Nobel Prize.

Easy-to-read version of Alfred Nobel's life
The Söder tunnel in Stockholm

Life and Philosophy

Alfred Nobel was attracted to philosophical issues and read philosophical works with interest.

Alfred Nobel - the philosopher

"Home is where I work and I work everywhere."


More aphorisms by Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel and His Work

Dynamite logotype

Inventor of Dynamite

An entirely new industry grew up, based on Alfred Nobel's patents and with Alfred as the initiator.

Dynamite companies

355 Patents

Alfred Nobel had acquired 355 patents worldwide when he died in 1896.

See a list of all patents
Olive branch

War and Peace

The name Nobel was connected with explosives, and certainly not with questions related to peace.

Alfred Nobel's thoughts about war and peace
Quiz logotype

Alfred Nobel Quiz

How much do you know about the founder of the Nobel Prize?

Try the quiz

The Will

Excerpt from the handwritten will of Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel's Last Will and Testament

In his will of November 27, 1895 signed in Paris, Alfred Nobel specified that the bulk of his fortune should be divided into five parts and to be used for Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace to "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind."

The content in Alfred Nobel's handwritten will
Nobel Medal

Establishment of the Nobel Foundation

When the will was settled, the task of achieving unity among all the affected parties on how to put its provisions into practice remained.

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Royal Academy of Sciences

The Nobel Prize Awarders

The awarding of the Nobel Prizes is based on a system of nominations, handled by four prize-awarding institutions

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Alfred Nobel and His Interest in Literature


Private Library

After his death Alfred Nobel left a private library of over 1500 volumes, mostly fiction in the original language, works by the great writers of the 19th century, but also the classics and works by philosophers, theologians, historians and other scientists.

Complete lists of Alfred Nobel's private library
Handwritten poem in French from Harriett

Interest in Literature

Alfred Nobel was an enthusiastic reader and wrote his own dramatic works and poems.

Read an article about Alfred Nobel's writing skills
Young Alfred Nobel

Books on Alfred Nobel

Here you can find a selection of publications about the work and life of Alfred Nobel.

See the list of books