Friday, October 9, 2009
President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. Speculation had focused on Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator and a Chinese dissident, along with an Afghan woman's rights activist.
In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses. Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, armaments manufacturer and the inventor of dynamite. He owned Bofors, a major armaments manufacturer, which he had redirected from its previous role as an iron and steel mill. The synthetic element nobelium was named after him. Nobel found that when nitroglycerin was incorporated in an absorbent inert substance like kieselguhr it became safer and more convenient to handle, and this mixture he patented in 1867 as 'dynamite'. Nobel demonstrated his explosive for the first time that year, at a quarry in Redhill, Surrey, England.
Nominations for the Prize may be made by a broad array of qualified individuals, including former recipients, members of national assemblies and congresses, university professors, international judges, and special advisors to the Prize Committee. In 2009, a record 205 nominations were received. The Committee keeps the nominations secret and asks that nominators do the same. It is not immediately apparent who nominated Obama.