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A Nobel history

It is the second year in a row that the Nobel prize committee has decided to award the chemistry and physics honours separately.

Previously they were announced on the same day, but this was changed due to fears that it could lead to one of the prizes being overlooked.

Prize founder Alfred Nobel stated that the chemistry prize should go to those who "shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind" and "shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement."

Nobel himself was a 19th century Swedish engineer and the inventor of dynamite. His interests also included social and peace issues as well as literature.

Nobel died a rich man and in his will, he ordered his fortune to be used to reward those who had made outstanding contributions to areas of science, peace and the arts - the blueprint for today's Nobel Prizes.

The Nobel prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace have been awarded yearly since 1901.

The Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics Sciences was established separately in 1968 by the Swedish central bank but is now is grouped with the other prizes.

The prizes are presented to the winner on December 10, which is the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.


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