The will of the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel established the prizes in 1895. The prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics and Physiology or Medicine were first awarded in 1901. In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden's central bank) established the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which has been commonly known as the Nobel Prize in Economics. The Nobel Prize is widely regarded as the most prestigious award available in the fields of literature, medicine, physics, chemistry, economics and activism for peace.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; the Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature; and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded not by a Swedish organization but by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Between 1901 and 2017, the Nobel Prizes including the Economic Prizes were awarded 585 times to 923 people and organizations. With some receiving the Nobel Prize more than once, this makes a total of 24 organizations, and 892 individuals. The prize ceremonies take place annually in Stockholm, Sweden (with the exception of the peace prize, which is held in Oslo, Norway). Each recipient, or laureate, receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money that has been decided by the Nobel Foundation. (As of 2017, each prize is worth SEK 9,000,000 or about US$1,110,000, €944,000, £836,000 or INR 72,693,900) Medals made before 1980 were struck in 23 carat gold, and later in 18 carat green gold plated with a 24 carat gold coating.
The prize is not awarded posthumously; however, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it, the prize may still be presented. Though the average number of laureates per prize increased substantially during the 20th century, a prize may not be shared among more than three people, although the Nobel Peace Prize can be awarded to organizations of more than three people.
Alfred Nobel ( listen (help·info)) was born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, into a family of engineers. He was a chemist, engineer, and inventor. In 1894, Nobel purchased the Bofors iron and steel mill, which he made into a major armaments manufacturer. Nobel also invented ballistite. This invention was a precursor to many smokeless military explosives, especially the British smokeless powder cordite. As a consequence of his patent claims, Nobel was eventually involved in a patent infringement lawsuit over cordite. Nobel amassed a fortune during his lifetime, with most of his wealth from his 355 inventions, of which dynamite is the most famous.