Why did Alfred Nobel start the Nobel Prizes?
Eight years prior to his death, on 13 April 1888, Alfred Nobel read an obituary to himself. Although it was his brother Ludwig who had actually died, the obituary described Alfred Nobel's own achievements, believing it was he who had died. The obituary condemned Nobel for inventing dynamite, an explosive which caused the deaths of so many. It is said that this experience led Nobel to choose to leave a better legacy to the world after his death.
Nobel regretted that his invention was used for such destructive purposes and methods (and made people have such a negative impression of him), that he willed that after his death, he would leave a much better legacy than during his life. So, he set up an award system, now called the Nobel Prize, so that when people do things that are extraordinarily beneficial to humans or who perform great actions to serve the human race and the world, that the most outstanding person would be awarded the prize. The prizes are given to "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind." The prize is awarded every December 10th, in Stockholm, commemorating when Nobel died (to the date) and where he was born. Nobel died on 10 December 1896 at the age of 63.