Although, I have not known Alfred Nobel in person, by reading his biographies, along with my great interest in history of inventors qualifies me to speak on this matter. Today I would like to inform you, who Alfred Nobel is; what he had done to be famous, and how he affected our world/society. In the beginning, I will start with some background information, including place, family and education. Alfred Nobel was born on October 21, 1833, Stockholm, Sweden.
He was the forth son of Caroline and Immanuele Nobel, a manufacturer of torpedoes, mines and explosives. In order to achieve better life conditions, when Alfred was nine years old, the family moved to Petersburg, Russia, where Alfred received private education. From the beginning, Alfred proved to be a genius. He was not only a brilliant student with vastly laboratory skills, but also a competent chemist. By the age of seventeen, he was fluently writing and speaking in five languages: English, French, German, Russian, as well as Swedish.
According to Kenne Fant in a biography called “Alfred Nobel”: “ All his life he derived nearly as much pleasure experimenting with language as he did experimenting with acids and powders in his laboratory(p. 5, ch. 13). ” Trying to sum up his life in one sentence, he offered the following: “ I am a misanthrope and yet utterly benevolent, have more then one screw loose yet am a super-idealist who digest philosophy more efficiently than food. ” Today, since 1902, we mainly recognize Alfred Nobel as the founder of the Nobel Prize.
Today, since 1902, most of the people recognize Alfred Nobel as the founder of The Nobel Prize. Now that I gave you some brief information about who Alfred Nobel is, I will tell you how he became famous. Fascinated by the speculative and experimental elements of chemistry, Alfred transformed his kitchen into a small laboratory. From the beginning, he became very interested in the inexplicable behavior of an explosive substance called nitroglycerine. Nitroglycerine is a yellow liquid that is explosive near sudden heat; also today, it is used as a vasodilator medicine.
Therefore, in 1863, Alfred Nobel was the first to solve the mystery of detonating NG in a practical useful way. This detonator marked the beginning of Nobel’s reputation as an inventor. According to British historian F. D. Miles, “the introduction of a detonating cap is without doubt the greatest discovery that has ever been made, in the theory and practice of explosives. On this discovery all modern application of explosives is based (p. 57, ch. 12). ” However, due to its dangerous properties, NG was very risky to handle and transport.
In fact, it was so dangerous, that Nobel’s factory blew up killing his younger brother and other innocent people. After this incident, Alfred became even more determined in finding a new foolproof way to transport NG, but without diminishing its blasting power. Therefore, in 1867, once again Alfred proved himself the inventor of the impossible – a reddish-yellow plastic mass, called dynamite, established his fame world wide, for the second time. In his experiments, he experiment in search of better ones, so in 1875 he invented a more powerful form of dynamite, called blasting gelatin.
Now that you know how Alfred Nobel became famous, I will tell you how the result of his experiments along with the legacy he left behind affected our society. First, critics believe that Alfred Nobel created his explosives for peace purposes only. His explosive substances were critical to mining operations and communication systems, such as the construction of the railroads and tunnels. Secondly, Alfred, himself said, “There is nothing in our world that can not be misused”. Thus, ballistite, recognized as one of Nobel’s most disturbing inventions, revolutionized the munitions industry.
Moreover, three decades later, Krummel, one of his explosives factories became the site of Germany’s largest atomic reactor. In addition, the dynamite had its first use in 1870 when the Franco-Prussian war broke out. At his death, in 1896, ninety factories of manufacturing explosives and ammunition already existed. However, instead of all his “demonic devices” that he created, Alfred never wanted to be remembered as the “merchant of death who kills and mutilate”, thereby he rewrote his will, creating the Nobel Peace Prize.
Since 1902, every year in Sweden, the Nobel prize is awarded for achievements in chemistry, physics, psychology, medicine or literature and of peace. Today I had the pleasure to inform you about the life of Alfred Nobel, by also mentioning how he became famous and how he changed our world. According to Kenne Fant, “Alfred Nobel left a legacy of lasting importance. Through his prizes, this restless, eternal wanderer, has forever etched his name in human memory (p. 7,ch. I). ”