Swedish Language Blog

Nobel prizes Posted by on Dec 28, 2012 in Culture

Halloj alla läsare! This post is about the Nobel prizes and how some of them have had a great effected on your daily life.

The ceremony for all the Nobel prizes, except the peace prize, is held in Stockholm, in the Stockholm concert house. The fact that the ceremony which is board casted across the whole world is held in Sweden makes many Swedes proud. Carl XVI Gustaf, the current king of Sweden, awards the prizes and the Swedish royal family sits and accompanies the prize takers at the banquette.

A short summery of the history behind the Nobel prizes is as follows:

Alfred Nobel was a great inventor and amongst his 355 inventions the most famous one is the dynamite. Year 1888 Alfred had the unpleasant surprise of reading his own obituary in a french newspaper, when it was in fact his brother Ludvig who had died. The newspaper had written something along the lines of “The merchant of death is dead” and continuing by writing “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Alfred started to wonder and worry when he read this, how would he really be remembered?. He therefore wrote in his will that 94% of his wealth and estate were to go to what he wanted to be called the Nobel prizes. There were to be five in total; one for chemistry, one for physics and one for medical science or physiology. The fourth prize for a literary work in an ideal direction. The fifth for the person or society that has contributed greatest service to fellowship. What we today call the peace prize.

You might now be wondering about the economists award, which is in fact a prize created in memory of Alfred Nobel and not one that he had stated in his will. The economists prize is however still awarded in Stockholm along with all the prizes except the peace award which the king of Norway always has the honor of doing.

The Nobel prize takers receive a sum of money (depending on the Nobel foundations yearly income), a gold medal and a diploma. All the prize takers have to give a lecture on the subject they have been awarded for and also give shorter speech at the banquette.

Linus Pauling (US) was awarded the peace prize for groundbreaking research on the dangers of nuclear testing especially for future generations. He presented the UN with a petitions signed by 9,000 other scientists all objecting to nuclear testing. Pauling’s work lead to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and was set into action the same day as Pauling received the Nobel peace prize 1963 banning all but underground nuclear testing. Pauling is but one of 8 others who have been awarded for nuclear warfare being averted, Mikhail Gorbachev (Russia) being another.

Yet another ground breaking discovery by Karl Ziegler (Germany) and Giulio Natta (Italy) was how to securely link together the long chains of atoms that plastics are made up of, enabling much stronger types of plastics. Plastic became much cheaper to use in manufacturing and is now used in everything for computers to the rubber tires on cars. The two men shared the Nobel chemistry prize the same year as Linus Pauling received his.

Two additional discoveries which are highly recognized and have had revolutionary consequences are Penicillin and laser. Penicillin was firstly discovered by Sir Alexander Flemming who unfortunately didn’t realize the importance of his discovery and so the prize has been shared amongst three men, Flemming included. Sir Alexander Flemming, Ernst Boris Chain and Sir Howard Walter Florey received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 “for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases.”

Year 2000 Zhores Alferov (Russia) and Herbert Kroemer (US) were awarded the Nobel prize in physics for their work on semiconductor lasers. Barcode readers which scan prices in stores and at the supermarket, laser pointers and DVD and CD players all use small, cheap light lasers which are based on their discoveries.

Maybe you know a lot about the different discoveries which the Nobel prizes have awarded scientists, authors and just ordinary people for, or maybe from now on you might think of the man who wanted to be remembered for the good things he did, and how that has contributed to the well being of mankind.

Therefore I think Swedes proudly say that Alfred Nobel was Swedish and that the Nobel prize ceremony is in Stockholm.

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