One of the greatest chemists of the 19th century, Alfred Nobel had 355 patents to his name. however, he's best known for inventing dynamite in 1867—of course, he hoped this volatile new mixture would solely be used for contruction; alas, he was wrong!
Nobel also instituted the Nobel Prize fund through his will. These awards annually honor people in six distinct fields that Noble has immense appreciation for. These fields include, physics, chemistry, medicine, economic sciences, literature and peace.
Nobel was born on October 21, 1833 in Stockholm to a popular Swedish inventor Immanuel Nobel, who encouraged his son in his academic pursuits. Alfred Nobel's interest in chemistry was evident as he started taking a keen interest in the subject when his family moved to Saint Petersburg in 1842.
He went to America at the age of 18 to study under John Ericsson, one of the most well-known engineers in those days. He even stayed in France for a few years, and worked under some prominent chemists there. It was in Paris where he started closely studying the newly discovered, volatile compound nitroglycerine.
Upon his return to Sweden, he dedicated his entire time to nitroglycerine-related research. his aim was to try and package this compound, so that it could be safely used. Ironically, it was during his nitroglycerine studies that an explosion occured at his Stockholm factory killing five people including his younger brother. However, Nobel was eventually successful in taming nitroglycerine and inventing dynamite.
As far as his non-academic pursuits are concerned, Nobel was a lifelong bachelor. However, there are reported instances of him getting close to a couple of women. But as is the case with most geniuses, Nobel's passion was knowledge. He was fluent in six languages and he also wrote poetry and plays!
This great mind eventually passed on in 1896 at his home in Sanremo, Italy. By then, he had created quite a name for himself and had amassed a fortune worth over $9 million.
His most notable invention is the dynamite. Unfortunately, unlike he hoped, this was not always used for the good of mankind. Hoever, he also had patents for artificial silk and synthetic rubber.
"Hope is nature's veil for hiding truth's nakedness."
"I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results."
"If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied."
"Second to agriculture, humbug is the biggest industry of our age."
"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."
Even today Nobel's legacy lives on through the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies, which are held in various parts of Sweden and Norway annually. These awards honor the best and the brightest, who reflect Alfred Nobel's vision of making the world a better place!