The Nobel Prize, as founded in Alfred Nobel's will, was the first truly international prize. There is no other award with the same global scope and mission. The Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Peace, and the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences (from 1969) have not only captured the most significant contributions to the progress of mankind, they also constitute distinct markers of the major trends in their respective areas. The main reason for the prestige of the Prize today is, however, the lasting importance of the names on the list of Laureates and their contributions to human development. In celebration of the centennial of the Nobel Prize in 2001, this book offers a clear perspective on the development of human civilization over the past hundred years. The book serves to present the major trends and developments and also provide information about the life and philosophy of Alfred Nobel, the history of the Nobel Foundation, and the procedure for nominating and selecting Nobel Laureates.