Written in 1895, Alfred Nobel's will endowed prizes for scientific research in chemistry, physics, and medicine. At that time, these fields were narrowly defined, and researchers were often classically trained in only one discipline. In the late 19th century, knowledge of science was not a requisite for success in other walks of life.
Lack of scientific fundamentals causes people to make foolish decisions about issues such as the toxicity of chemicals, the efficacy of medicines, the changes in the global climate. Our single greatest defense against scientific ignorance is education, and early in the life of every scientist, the child's first interest was sparked by a teacher.