How the Nobel Prize Was Born: A Surprising Story of Bad Journalism, Existential Guilt, and Dynamite



Alfred Nobel’s original handwritten will.
Image courtesy of Molly Oldfield / The Nobel Foundation

«….From Olov Amelin, curator of Stockholm’s Nobel Museum, Oldfield learns that the revered Nobel Prize — held today as an echelon of celebrating the human spirit at its highest potential — has a rather dark origin of destruction and confusion. In 1888, when a humble Swede by the name of Ludwig Nobel died, the French press confused him with his younger brother Alfred — the famed Swedish entrepreneur and inventor who amassed his fortune by making such deadly delights as dynamite and ballistic — and ran an eviscerating epitaph about this “Tradesman of Death.” Alfred Nobel, having the rare misfortune of witnessing his legacy while still alive, found himself heartbroken and determined to change his story before it was too late. Likening his tale to that of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Oldfield writes:…..»