Nobel Prize Trivia

It’s music to my ears.

Ed Newman
2 min readMar 14, 2020


Photo by the author.

Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish businessman, chemist, engineer, inventor, and philanthropist. He held 355 different patents, dynamite being the most famous.

Though one aim of the Nobel prize was to help people forget its inventor’s past, it is now associated with international prizes for peace, science, and literature. During his lifetime, however, the press dubbed him the “angel of death.”

In fact, on one occasion a French newspaper printed his obituary before Nobel was even dead, titled “The merchant of death is dead.” I’m sure Mr. Nobel let them know this was a mistake. It was his brother Ludwig who had passed. Alfred lived another eight years.

When Alfred Nobel did eventually die, he bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million SEK (c. US$186 million, €150 million in 2008), to establish the five Nobel Prizes for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace.

Until Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, I never knew that this prize is granted by the Swedish Academy and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded not by a Swedish organization but by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

I also learned that medals made before 1980 were 23 carat gold, medals after that time are 18 carat green gold plated with a 24 carat gold coating. (Learn about the various colors of gold here.)

All this trivia had but one aim: to serve as preface to a joke I made up a couple weeks ago. If you fail to think it amusing, then at least you (hopefully) learned a few details about the Nobel Prize that you didn’t know before.

Q: What kind of music do Nobel Prize winners like best?

From the William Pagel Archives.

Answer: Heavy Medal



Ed Newman

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon