Alfred Nobel

Updated February 23, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

The Question:

Was the Nobel who invented the Nobel prize some sort of explosives expert? What made him decide to start giving awards, especially the Peace Prize?

The Answer:

Yes, Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was in fact the inventor of dynamite and other explosive compounds. Nobel's will established a trust fund for awards in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. This will came as a surprise, and one can only speculate as to his motivations. Perhaps it was meant as an act of atonement, as Albert Einstein speculated in 1945, or perhaps Nobel had always seen himself as working for peace, believing that a balance of powerful weaponry would prevent wars from taking place. Only he knew for sure.

See also Nobel Prize Winners, The Nobel Prize, and Alfred Bernhard Nobel on our site, and the biographical information on the official Nobel Prize site.

-The Fact Monster

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