The Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel died at San Remo, Italy on this day in 1896. Under the terms of his will, his estate was arranged so as to grant prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Medicine or Physiology, Literature, and Peace, these five prizes were first awarded on the fifth anniversary of his death. In 1969 the Bank of Sweden joined the festivities and established a prize for Economics that is awarded at the same ceremony, erroneously called the Nobel Prize for Economics. The prize for Peace is awarded at the Oslo City Hall in the capital of Norway, the others are awarded at the Stockholm Concert Hall. They are always presented on the 10th of December, although the winners are generally announced a couple of weeks ahead of time. Here, then, some thoughts on Prizes.
Do not trust your memory, it is a net full of holes; the most beautiful prizes slip through it.
– Georges Duhamel
The world is made of people who never quite get onto the first team and who just miss the prizes at the flower show.
– Jacob Bronowski, 1908 – 1974
Of life’s two chief prizes, beauty and truth, I found the first in a loving heart and the second in a laborer’s hand.
– Kahlil Gibran, 1883 – 1931
Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 – 1882
The virtue lies in the struggle, not in the prize.
– Richard Monckton Milnes, 1809 – 1885
He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had failed.
– William James, 1842 – 1910