Alfred Nobel was born on October 21, 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden and died on December 10, 1896. He was a chemist, innovator, engineer and one of his most important discoveries was dynamite. In his honor the synthetic element Nobelium was named after him.
Biography and Career:
His parents' names are Immanuel Nobel and Andriette Ahlsell Nobel and Alfred is their third son.
In 1842 he moved with his family to St. Petersburg where his chemistry professor was Nikolay Nikolaevich Zinin. By the age of 17, Alfred spoke fluently French, Russian, English, Swedish and German. Even though he loved Science, English Literature was one of his passions as well.
For two years, Alfred visited the United Stated, France, Germany and Sweden. He met T.J. Pelouze in France and worked in his lab
oratory for some time. He also gained as friend the italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero, who had invented nytroglicerine just three years earlier.
He went back to working for his father's company, but because the business of the family was in bankruptcy , Immanuel took two of his sons and went back to Stockholm. Here, Alfred started studying explosives, safe manufacturing and the use of nytroglicerine, which lead to one particular event in 1864 when one of his brothers and some workers were killed in an accident at the family factory.
The authorities forbade him, on this occasion, to use explosive in the town, so he moved on a boat and continued with his studies. In 1867 he patented dynamite and his studies finally came with a result. After nine years he patented something else, Gelignite or blasting gelatin, which is an explosive even more powerful than dynamite.
His invention brought him a lot of money, as it was very profitable for big companies, so he managed to export his products in countries throughout Europe, Australia and United States. In time, Alfred had labs and factories in over 20 countries and when he wasn't traveling, he would spend the time working in his own laboratories.
In 1866 Alfred Nobel invented a form of nitroglycerine that could be handled safely. He called it dynamite. In 1875 he went on to invent gelignite. These explosives were used in engineering applications such as railway construction and quarrying but they also had an obvious military application. As a committed pacifist, Nobel hoped that his explosives would provide such a deterrent to war that they would bring peace to mankind. His inventions did not bring peace, but they did bring him a massive fortune, which he used in his will to endow the annual Nobel Prizes, awarded to those who have 'conferred the greatest benefit on mankind' in five categories including Peace.
"Nemesis" is a tragedy he wrote, but after his death almost the entire stock was destroyed. Only three copies remained and in 2003 it was published in Sweden.
He decided to found a prize and in 1895 he initiated the Nobel Prize after he wrote his last will and left a lot of his fortune for its establishment. People didn't look at him with good eyes after his discovery. They criticized him and he felt the need to give something good in return, so he created the Nobel Prize. The categories which win a Nobel prize are: physical science, chemistry, medical science or physiology, literary work and the greatest service to the cause of international fraternity.
On the 10th of December 1896 he died after a stroke in San Remo, Italy. The amount of money he had left for the prizes was about 4 million US dollars. He was a great man who had no intention of doing any harm. Many didn't understand this and blamed him, but in fact, he was recognized as a great inventor and chemist. At his death papers announced meanly : "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday" although he had dedicated his entire life to science.
During his lifetime he had 355 patents, a huge fact in a man's life.
- "If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied."
- "My dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world conventions. As soon as men will find that in one instant, whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace."
Alfred Nobel Image Source : chm.bris.ac.uk
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