Tuesday, December 10, 2013


December 10, 2013


Stockholm, Sweden (JFK+50) 112 years ago today, December 10, 1901,  the first Nobel Prizes were awarded.

The prizes are funded from the estate of the Swedish chemist and inventor, Alfred B. Nobel.*

*Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-1896) was born in Stockholm and was educated in St. Petersburg, Russia and studied engineering in the U.S.

Nobel was the inventor of dynamite and as such became one of the world's wealthiest men.  Never in good health, he felt guilty that so many died as a result of his invention.

Nobel Prizes are awarded annually in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology and medicine, literature, international peace and economics.

The Royal Academy of Science awards the prizes for physics and chemistry while The Caroline Institute gives the award for medicine. 

The Swedish Academy of Literature awards the prize of literature and the international peace prize is given in Oslo, Norway.

The countries represented with the highest number of Nobel Prizes include the United States, Germany, Great Britain, France, Sweden Switzerland, Italy, and The Netherlands.

The first round of Nobel Prizes were awarded as follows:


Wilhelm K. Roentgen, x rays


Jacobus Henricus Van't Hoff, thermodynamics 


Emit von Behring, diptheria antitoxin


Rene Sully-Prudhomme, poetry

Peace:  Jean Henri Dunant, Red Cross 
               Frederic Passy, Peace Society

Americans who were recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize include...

Theodore Roosevelt
Elihu Root 
Woodrow Wilson
Frank Kellogg
Jane Addams
Nicholas M. Butler
Cordell Hull
John R. Mott
Emily G. Balch
Ralph J. Bunche
George C. Marshall
Linus Pauling
Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Norman Borlaug
Henry Kissinger
Elie Wiesel
Albert Gore, Jr.
Jimmy Carter
Barack Obama

The most recent recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize was Liu Xiaobo who won the award "for his long and non-violent struggles for fundamental human rights in China."

President John F. Kennedy addressed Nobel Prize winners at a dinner at the White House on April 29, 1962.

The President said:

"I want to tell you how welcome you are to the White House. I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

Thomas Jefferson

JFK added...

"Someone once said that Thomas Jefferson was a gentleman of 32 who could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, and dance the minuet. 

Whatever he may have lacked, if we could have had his former colleague, Mr. Franklin, here we all would have been impressed." 

Benjamin Franklin


The World Book Encyclopedia, Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, Chicago, 1967.