Nobel movement:

Nobel movement: Studies of the Nobel movement as a social phenomenon and promotion of its progressive and humanistic ideas. Focuses on research of life of Alfred Nobel, circumstances of establishing the Nobel Prizes, and nominating and awarding Nobel Prizes. Additionally, research projects cover the great value of the heritage of other members of the Nobel Family, in particular - Ludwig Nobel. Main articles on the topic are presented Humanistica’s encyclopedia entitled "Alfred Nobel and the Nobel movement." After 1917, within several years all enterprises and assets of the Nobel Family were taken over by the Soviet state. Most of their intellectual and spiritual heritage (patents, pictures, books, etc.) were mostly acquired by official bodies, or remained in the offices of new enterprises created by Soviets to continue industrial production according to the structure of the Nobel family business in Russia. The name of the Nobels, just as many other names, fell into oblivion. Even their factory was renamed, and most people now know it as Russky Diesel. In due course, in the process of successful activities of the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, the Nobel Family revived interest in the family history. Nobel Prizes founded according to the will of Alfred Nobel, became famous all over the world as one of the main criteria of assessing scientific and literary success. The official recognition of Nobel Prizes in the USSR was prevented by two dogmas. The first was the overall anti-capitalist policy of Soviet officials. The second was the reaction of Soviet authorities to award of Nobel Prizes to Soviet citizens who were viewed as dissidents. At the same time, recognizing the social reputation of Nobel Prizes, Moscow attempted to establish a Prize, which would be the socialist alternative to Nobel Prizes. From the mid-1980s liberalization of home and foreign policy helped bring down the criticism of the Nobel movement. The Consul General of Sweden in Leningrad, Tomas Bertelman, took advantage of it when he wrote to the Leningrad City Soviet, proposing to immortalize the name of Alfred Nobel, who spent almost 20 years of his life in the city, and set up a memorial plaque. Dr. I. A. Glebov, chairman of the Leningrad Science Center of the USSR Academy of Sciences, ordered A. I. Melua, as director of the Leningrad branch of the Institute of History of Natural Sciences and Technology to study this offer. At that time it was not known what volume of archival materials was kept in the city, so I turned to the Nobel Foundation for information support. It soon became clear that due to specificity of Nobel establishments, and history of relations between the Nobel Foundation and the USSR Government, it would be more productive to set up the project not at the Institute (which was, as a matter of fact, an official body), but at a public organization. The organization in question was the International Foundation of Science History – a public organization founded by me as far back as in 1986. The President of the Nobel Foundation academician Lars Gyllensten and executive director Stig Ramel responded to my letter, and signed a cooperation agreement in history research of the life and activities of the Nobel Family and Nobel Prize winners with the president of the International Foundation of Science History, A. I. Melua. Frequently, and sometimes daily, A. I. Melua held meetings with Academician D. S. Lihachev whose office in Pushkin House was within a 10 minute walking distance from the St. Petersburg branch of the Research Institute of Natural Science and Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Considerable assistance was provided by Vice-President of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Academician A. L. Yanshin. The cooperation with Stockholm had never been planned as a financial undertaking. Each of the parties completed their share of the work at own expense, with no settlement of accounts. Then, due to formal rules of international relations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR in reply to A. I. Melua`s request for assistance, appointed diplomat Eugeny Rymko, who had previously worked in Stockholm and was a well-known expert in Scandinavia, to assist with the work in Leningrad (in 2007 Ambassador E. P. Rymko published a book, entitled "M. A. Sholokhov in Alfred Nobel`s Homeland," where he also mentioned the works of the 1990s). The ambassador of the USSR in Sweden, Boris Pankin (who later became the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia) also provided considerable help in this cooperation effort. Upon an invitation of the International Foundation of Science History the president of the Nobel Foundation and other Swedish employees came to Leningrad several times, including the occasion of opening the memorial plaque to Alfred Nobel at 24 Petrogradskaya Naberezhnaya (October, 1991), created with support of the International Foundation of Science History. T. Bertelman’s successor, Consul General D. Alander met with A. I. Melua on numerous occasions, and visited the Kalinin Factory, where the Nobel memorial plaque was made of cannon alloy). Considerable assistance in studying the Nobel heritage in Russia since 1991 has been provided by executive director of the Nobel Foundation, Michael Sohlman. Mr. Sohlman helped bring to Russia the previously unknown documents, printed in Sweden. He brought here annual posters of Nobel Prize winners in Physics and Chemistry, helped publish mass editions of Nobel lectures, and expand humanitarian cooperation with Swedish universities and Nobel establishments. He takes part in the work of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, other public organizations and forums. Works published over the last 10 to 15 years allowed to research the heritage of the Nobel Family in more detail. First of all, I mean document funds. It appeared that many documents pertaining to the Nobel family could be found in more than 30 cities of Russia, and their overall number exceeds several hundreds of thousands of titles. The same is true of other countries: Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, because Alfred Nobel had worked there in his laboratories and factories, which manufactured explosives. An important addition to this list is the oil business of Ludwig Nobel’s partners and his sons. We have created a computer databank of documents related to life and work of the Nobel Family. Numbering of their documents has been started. The most interesting pieces will be published in collections of the series by Humanistica. Almost one thousand names of people from various countries, and a number of organizations have become connected with the name of Nobel over more than 100 years of history. They are the winners of Nobel Prizes awarded annually since 1901 in Stockholm and Oslo. Correspondence with some of them allowed us to make detailed plans for our works. Among our first correspondents were N. G. Basov and Prof. Henry Taube, Mother Tereza, I. Prigozhin, G. F. Kohler, N. F. Ramsey, J. Tobin, and others. Studying the life of Ludwig Nobel and other members of his family is especially interesting in the context of analyzing the creation of the Nobel Foundation. The central theme is the study of the person of Alfred Nobel. He was not only a shareholder of the Russian enterprise of his brother Ludwig. Alfred’s life was full of dramatic episodes, which needs to be studied in social sciences and philosophy. The most important element of his activities for the modern society is encouragement of human creativity. Today, more than 100 years after the signing of his will we see that this best invention of his has been useful to the human society and continues to serve progressive purposes. Printed media have traditionally been most popular. As compared to complex and bulky databanks for experts, book printing is more important for schools, universities and families. Since mid-1990s Russia has published an ever-increasing number of Nobel-themed books: the number of titles as of today has exceeded 300 (while during the Soviet time only a few editions had been published). Among these books are some 20 monographs of Humanistica series on history of the Nobel movement as a social phenomenon of the 20th century (authored by members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, A. D. Nozdrachev, V. V. Okrepilov, et al., Professors A. M. Blokh, K. N. Zelenin, E. L. Polyakov, V. H. Havinson, et al.). Biographic articles about the Nobels and their partners have been published in biographic encyclopedias of Humanistica series (more than 30 volumes have been published in 1996-2007), as part of the 100 volume Russian Biographic Encyclopedia, a project of Humanistica Academic Publishing House. This work is based on the unique specialized computer technology, overseen by chairman of the Supervisory Council of Russian Encyclopedia, Y. Y. Golko. The total amount of all available data exceeds many hundreds of terabytes, not enough disc space for more than 1000 ordinary PCs. The computer technologies developed and used by us, called "Nobel" and "Russia," have been designed not for a certain edition but for a long-term research process, during which the data will be supplemented, statistically analyzed, and revised. Unlike earlier methods, modern digital printing machines allow to set up digital databases for any number of copies, starting with just one, and others added as needed. Printed and electronic editions have created a scholarly revolution, popularizing societal history and achievements of science.


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