Inventors are inspirational. Alfred Nobel was an inventor, businessman, chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. He is known as the inventor of dynamite and for instituting the Nobel Prizes.
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born on October 21, 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden. His father, Immanuel Nobel, was an inventor, businessman, and engineer. His parents had eight children, however only four boys survived into adulthood. Alfred learned basic principles of engineering and explosives from his father. In 1842, the family joined the father in Saint Petersburg where he had become a successful machine tool and explosive manufacturer. Alfred Nobel was then sent to private tutors. He was a good student, excelling in chemistry and languages. He went on to study in Paris and in 1850 he met the inventor of nitroglycerin. At 18 years old, he went to study chemistry in the United States for four years. Then in 1857 Nobel filed his first patent for a gas meter.
During his life he held 355 different patents from multiple countries. In 1863, he invented a detonator and two years later he designed the blasting cap. The previous year his brother Emil and four other people died when a shed with nitroglycerin exploded. In 1867, the safer to handle substance dynamite was invented by Alfred Nobel.
In 1884, Nobel was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 1875, Nobel invented gelignite. In 1887, he patented ballistite. Alfred invested in his brothers’, Ludvig and Robert, oilfields. They all became very wealthy. In 1888, Ludvig died and a paper mistakenly reported it was Alfred. Because of dynamite the obituary claimed “The merchant of death is dead.” This inspired Alfred to institute the Nobel Prizes and repair his legacy.
In 1891, Nobel moved from Paris to Sanremo, Italy. In 1893, he was given an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University. He died on December 10, 1896. His will left most of his wealth to fund the Nobel Prizes.
During his life Nobel never married, but he is believed to have loved three women at different times during his life. One, who he corresponded with until his death, was Bertha von Suttner. She is thought to have influenced Nobel to include the peace prize. She received the Peace prize in 1905. Also during his life, Nobel learned six language and wrote poetry and plays. Nobel Prizes are awarded in physical science, chemistry, medical science or physiology, literary work, and peace. Today, there is controversy over a prize for economics.
While Alfred Nobel’s life has stirred controversies, he has had significant impact on society. Be inspired! Have a bright day!