National Nobel Prize Day

Alfred Nobel held 355 patents at his death in 1896. He left a will with the Swedish-Norwegian Club in 1895 giving most of his fortune to reward those who serve mankind. At first, the Club refused to honor his will but finally gave way in 1901, awarding the first of the Nobel Prizes, a medal, a diploma and 10 million Swedish crowns.

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When Nobel died Sweden controlled Norway as well until 1905. Since then, Sweden  has issued the awards given out by the King of Sweden. The winners are announced at the beginning of October and handed out on December 10th.

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The King wears several hats, (Look him up they are literally hats and normally pretty weird) one of which is presenting the awards to over 500 recipients annually. The current King of Sweden is Carl XVI Gustaf.

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The awards are issued in Stockholm, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. A fitting place for those who practice the art of peace, literature and the arts.

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How to celebrate – There are too many recipients to list for this years, look them up here. Study the life of Alfred Nobel. Try and watch the prize awards if you can.

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March 25th International Waffle Day

Get up! It’s time for breakfast and time to breakout the waffles! So let’s share that last Eggo and make the day brighter for everybody.

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Waffles were first served, so far as we know, in the 1300’s in Greece. They generally were toppedwith cheese and herbs, maybe sometimes a little meat. (They didn’t have syrup back then.)

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In Sweden it’s called Vaffeldagen, and celebrates the first day of Spring (Also throughout Europe) and the Feast of Annunciation. Some find it odd that Waffle Day comes during Lent when you are supposed to give up something you would normally indulge in. I guess waffles are not normally considered one of those things, particularly in Sweden!

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Here in the United States we celebrate the invention of the waffle iron by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York in 1869. (They didn’t have Eggos back then)

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Now we have really altered the waffle since it first came out. Some think it is for the better, some think for the worse. What do you think?

How to celebrate – Have a waffle for breakfast this morning. Throw a little chicken and cheese on a waffle for lunch today! Find a friend from Sweden and celebrate their first day of Spring.

December 10th Nobel Prize Day

Alfred Nobel loved peace, it just so happened that he create the most devastating weapon in history, dynamite. Born in 1833 he was able to bring the detonation of nitroglycerin in 1863, an extremely dangerous substance to work with. In 1865 he developed the blasting cap making his product even safer, but still not ideal. In fact, in 1864 his factory blew up killing his little brother and several co-workers. In 1867 he discovered the use of kieselguhr, a porous material, would stabilize the nitro even further and dynamite was born. He named it for Dynamis, a Greek word for miraculous power.

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Nobel’s invention made his a wealthy man, wealthy beyond most of our dreams. But he regretted his invention, eventually winding up with the name”Merchant of Death”. He continued to work on his invention making blasting gelatin in 1875 and ballistite, a smokeless nitro powder, in 1887. Most of his work came in Stockholm, Sweden, his home after living for a short time in Russia as a child. When he died on December 10th, 1896 his will stated that his fortune was to be given out in awards to the best of the best in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. 5 years after his death the awards began being issued from Stockholm.

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Recipients receive a gold medal and nearly 1,400,000 in cash. The awards are given out on December 10th every year, on the anniversary of Nobel’s death. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards given to anyone, whether Bob Dylan thinks so or not!

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Among those holding this honor are Marie Curie, Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Dalai Lama. Though some who have been given the award remain in question, most have deserved the award for their accomplishments serving mankind.

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How to celebrate – Look up all the award winners and see how many you feel have accomplished something worthy of the Nobel Prize for yourself. Read about Nobel’s troubled life. Watch for the list of award winners given out every year.