Today in history – 10th Dec.

By Terry Odenigbo


On this day in 1901; the first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The ceremony came on the fifth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite and other high explosives. In his will, Nobel directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Although Nobel offered no public reason for his creation of the prizes, it is widely believed that he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war.Today, the Nobel Prizes are regarded as the most prestigious awards in the world in their various fields. Notable winners have included Marie Curie, Theodore Roosevelt,Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela and our very own Wole Soyinka.Professor Soyinka is the only Nigerian to have won this award since its inception in 1901. Which other Nigeria do you think could come close to claiming this award? This year, a student in an Afghanistan secondary school – Malala Yousufzai- claimed the award. Does any Nigerian school bear the promise of repeating such a feat?What are your thoughts?

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