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Alfred Nobel

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Introduction

Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm Sweden, in 1833, to a family with a long history of engineers. He was the fourth of eight children of which only four of the eight lived beyond childhood (Keene 8). His father, Immanuel Nobel, was an engineer and inventor who built bridges and buildings. Immanuel Nobel also experimented with different techniques of blasting rock (Fr�ngsmyr). His family was descended from Olof Rudbeck, the best known technical genius of Sweden's 17th century era as a great power in Northern Europe (His Life). When Alfred was five years old his father went through a bankruptcy that forced him to move to St. Petersburg and leave his family behind. There he had started a mechanical workshop for the manufacture of landmines. During these rough times, Alfred's mother Andrietta Ahsell Nobel started a grocery store, which provided a modest income to support the family. In 1842, when Alfred was nine, the rest of the family had moved to be with Immanuel in St. Petersburg whose workshop was busy equipping the Russian Army. By this time his father's finances had improved (Fr�ngsmyr). Immanuel Nobel had convinced the Tsar and his Generals that naval mines could be used to block enemy naval ships from threatening the city. These mines were simple devices consisting of wooden casks filled with gunpowder that were submerged under water. They were anchored below the surface in the Gulf of Finland. ...read more.

Middle

In October 1863, Alfred Nobel was granted a patent for the explosive that he called blasting oil. This invention paved the road for future success (Fr�ngsmyr). In 1864, during experiments to perfect the detonating device, the laboratory blew up killing eight, including Alfred's little brother Emil. When the terrible news reached Immanuel Nobel he suffered a near fatal stroke that left him bedridden for the rest of his life (Keene 9). Nobel, who convinced himself that he was on the right track toward a safe solution, approached one of Stockholm's richest men, J. W. Smitt. Smitt agreed to participate in forming a company and together established Nitroglycerin Aktiebolaget. He began production of nitroglycerin commercially (Gray 25). Before Alfred could start producing the explosive he first needed to find a suitable site for the factory. Since the explosion that left eight people dead had shown how exceedingly powerful nitroglycerin was, the authorities forbade any experimentation with the lethal explosive within the Stockholm City limits. This forced Alfred to move the factory to a barge anchored on Lake M�laren (Fr�ngsmyr). One year later, in 1865, the company received official permission to move the business from the old barge to a factory at Vinterviken, an isolated inlet on the same lake, located opposite the island of Stora Essingen, not far from the city. Manufacturing of the substance started under very primitive conditions that were partly outdoors and partly in simple constructed sheds. ...read more.

Conclusion

Alfred's love to promote peace would later help him in writing his will. In 1894, Alfred bought a second house in Varmland, Sweden. Here is where he would spend the last two summers of his life. Back in San Remo, in the fall of 1886, Nobel began to write his will. In it he made provisions not only for a peace prize, but also for annual awards to outstanding individuals in four other fields including literature, chemistry, physics, and physiology or medicine. He signed the final draft of his will on November 27, 1895. A few weeks later on December 10, Alfred Nobel died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 63 (Gray 46). For Alfred's will to be carried out the Nobel Foundation was established in 1900, in order to administer the Nobel Prizes. Different institutions carried out in selecting and awarding a winner in each field. The candidates of the Nobel Prize are nominated from 1000 experts in that specific field. The various Nobel committees then work to select a winner by early fall. The Nobel Committee may sometimes decide not to award a prize that year which in its history has happened 19 times (Keene 11). Alfred Nobel himself would hardly have dreamed of the impact the Nobel Prizes, a fulfillment of his lifetime interests, would have in the future. At the end of Alfred's life he was the owner of more than 350 patents that revolutionized many industries and he achieved lasting fame by leaving his estate in trust to establish prizes for individuals whose contributions inspired the world. Day, 1 3 1 ...read more.

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