Nobelprize.org had its beginnings in 1994 when Professor Nils Ringertz*, Secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine at the time, decided to use the Internet to reach a large audience during the announcement of the year's Nobel Laureates. Together with Dr. Hans Mehlin, they published the first Nobel Prize press release online, announcing the 1994 Physiology or Medicine Nobel Laureates. Twelve thousand visitors were recorded that year. In 1996, they were joined by Dr. Agneta Levinovitz and Gudrun Franzén. Initial funding was provided by the Knowledge Foundation of Sweden and later by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. By this time, Professor Ringertz had successfully convinced the other Nobel Prize-Awarding Institutions to follow suit and the press releases for the Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry, Literature and Peace, as well as the Economics Prize, started to become available on the Internet.
The next step was to publish the biographies of the Nobel Laureates as well as the illustrated presentations of the Nobel Prize-awarded works in Physics, Chemistry and Physiology or Medicine. In 1996, it became the official web site of the Nobel Foundation, taking the name 'Electronic Nobel Museum', which was later changed to 'Nobel e-Museum'. The web site's activities were no longer confined to the announcements and the Nobel Laureates' biographies. Information about Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Foundation and the Nobel institutions, Nobel Lectures, Presentation and Banquet Speeches, and articles about and by the Nobel Laureates were made accessible, at no cost.
Starting in 1998 live web casts were presented via the web site during the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm. In 1999 visitors could watch the Nobel Laureates presenting their Nobel Lectures live on the website. The Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo was likewise webcast live. With the growing world-wide proliferation of computers, the number of site visitors had increased to more than 2.5 million in 2000.
To reach an even wider audience, especially the young, for whom most primary site information is too complex and incomprehensible, it was decided to develop online educational productions. The strategy was to present information about the Nobel Prize- awarded achievements in a way that is 'fun' and attractive. With financial support from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation the staff was expanded to include educators, writers, illustrators, and interactive technology experts, who collaborated in multi-disciplinary teams in order to create interactive games, tutorials and teaching tools based on the achievements of the Nobel Laureates. Designed to engage, teach and inspire users, the Educational Program was launched in May 2001.
In 2004 another change of name took place, this time from 'Nobel e-Museum' to 'Nobelprize.org', which was now registered as a trademark. At the same time, Nobel Web AB was formed as a Swedish corporate entity in charge of the site. In October 2010 Nobel Web AB merged with Nobel Media AB. Nobel Media AB is a subsidiary of the Nobel Foundation Rights Association, a non-profit association managing the rights of the Nobel Foundation.
Today, Nobelprize.org has become the ultimate source for information about the Nobel Prize and the Nobel Laureates. The variety and number of site-accessible documents, photos, audiotapes, videotapes, films and articles, now reaching several hundreds, have grown tremendously. In 2010 over 40 million visited Nobelprize.org and more are expected to come.
* Nils Ringertz was born in 1932. He got an MD/PhD in medicine in 1960 and specialized in medical cell genetics. His main line of research has been nucleocytoplasmic signaling and digital imaging of cell structures using fluorescent probes. Nils Ringertz served as professor of medical cell genetics at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm in 1969-1993, was chairman at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) of the Medical Nobel Institute in 1977-1993, and chairman of the Medical Nobel Committee 1976-1999. From 1963 to 1993 he was editor of Experimental Cell Research (Academic Press). Nils Ringertz was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and served with a number of international scientific organizations. In 1994 he initiated the Electronic Nobel Museum Project (ENM) which led to the Nobelprize.org (NeM). Nils Ringertz died in his home in Stockholm on June 8, 2002.