Essay about Alfred Nobel

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Alfred Nobel

Born in Stockholm in 1833 of Swedish parents, Alfred Nobel moved with his family to St. Petersburg, then the capital of Russia, at the age of nine. There his energetic and inventive father soon acquired a strong and respected position as an inventor and industrialist. Nobel subsequently lived in several countries and ultimately came to regard himself as a citizen of the world. Even so, he never gave up his Swedish citizenship.

By virtue of the education he received in many countries, Nobel read, spoke and wrote fluently in five European languages: Swedish, Russian, English, French and
German. His numerous handwritten letters demonstrate his remarkable proficiency in all of them. He perfected his French when sent to Paris
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At the very time he composed his final will in 1895, he wrote enthusiastic letters about authors, among them Sweden's Selma Lagerlöf, who in 1909 was to become the first woman to receive the Prize in Literature.

Nobel's award for peace workers was just as personally motivated. His special recommendation of “organizers and promoters of peace congresses” shows that he had in mind his friend Baroness Bertha von Suttner of Austria, whose peace congresses in Rome and Berne he had supported financially. While he had been concerned about the peace problem long before he met her, she undoubtedly stimulated his interest in it still further. In 1905 Baroness von Suttner won the Peace Prize.

A question often asked is, “Why was Norway picked to award the Peace Prize?”
Nobel himself gave no reason. It should be remembered, however, that during his lifetime, Sweden and Norway were still joined in a union; this was peacefully dissolved in 1905. When Nobel drew up his will, it may have been only natural for him to divide the prize- awarding responsibilities between the two parts of his homeland. A contributing reason may also have been his admiration for the great Norwegian writer and patriot Bjørnstierne Bjørnson, winner of the Prize in
Literature in 1903.

The selection of Peace Prize winners was entrusted to a committee appointed by the Storting, or Norwegian Parliament. As a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in
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