The scientist and businessman Alfred Bernhard Nobel was the inventor of dynamite, a powerful explosive .
Nobel , however, is most famous for having created an award that bears his name: the Nobel Prize.
Alfred Nobel was born October 21, 1833 in Stockholm , Sweden. As a boy, he followed in his father's footsteps, showing an interest in the sciences , especially chemistry.
Nobel received an international education . He studied in various European and American institutions . Prominent among his teachers was the Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero, the inventor of nitroglycerin, the most powerful explosive known to man.
Nobel became convinced that nitroglycerin had great commercial potential, claiming it could prove useful in the construction of tunnels.
In 1863, Nobel returned to Stockholm and opened a nitroglycerin factory . Unfotunately nitroglycerin is an unstable substance and can explode at the slightest movement. In 1864 , an accidental explosion at the Nobel factory killed Alfred 's brother, Emil .
Stunned by the incident , Alfred Nobel began looking for a way to make nitroglycerin less dangerous. In 1867, he succeded by mixing nitroglycerin with sand rich in calcium and silicon , which acts as an absorbent. He called it dynamite, from the greek word "dynamis" meaning power. Dynamite is a solid substance that only explodes when in contact with fire.
Dynamite is used to cause controlled demolitions in the field of construction and mining. Soon, thanks to his invention , Alfred Nobel became one of the richest men in the world, opening 90 factories in more than 20 countries.
Unfortunately, dynamite has more than just civil uses. It can also be used in war. Nobel’s discoveries provided a huge boost to the construction of new bombs and other weapons .
Nobel was well aware that he had invented an instrument of death. He quickly became convinced that he needed to do something else so that death and destrcution would not be his lasting legacy.
On December 10th, 1896 Nobel died in San Remo, Italy , at the age of 63.
In his will he left instructions for setting up the prize that bears his name.
Since 1901 , the Nobel prize is given out annually to artists, scholars and politicians who have contributed to the good of humanity.
Nobel Prizes are divided into five categories: physics, chemistry , medicine, literature and peace. The latter category covers all public figures who excell in humanitarian efforts .
Since 1968, a Nobel Prize has also been awarded in the field of economics .