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Monday, December 10, 2007
Alfred Nobel
Alfred Nobel was a Swedish engineer, chemist, etc., and the inventor of dynamite. He was born in Stockholm in 1833 to Immanuel and Andriette Nobel, the third son of four. His father was also an inventor.

When Alfred was nine, the family moved to St. Petersburg where his father started a torpedo works. While there Alfred studied chemistry under Nikolay Zinin (presumably at the University of St. Petersburg).

When Alfred and his father returned to Sweden in 1859, leaving the factory in Russia in the hands of his older brother, Ludvig, he turned to the study of explosives, particularly the safe manufacture and usage of nitroglycerine. There were a few bumps along the way and one particularly disastrous explosion at the family factory that killed several workers as well as the youngest Nobel brother, Emil. He eventually discovered that it was easier to handle when combined with an inert substance. That mixture he patented as dynamite in 1867.

His incentive for creating the Nobel prizes is said to have been a premature obituary printed in a French newspaper which condemned his discovery of dynamite by stating, "The merchant of death is dead." Deciding that he wanted to leave a more benevolent legacy, he re-wrote his will and created the Nobel prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace. The prize in Economics was created by the Bank of Sweden in his memory and is not funded out of his estate.

He died in Sanremo, Italy in 1896.

Today's question: Although the prizes are announced months before, December 10 is the traditional day the prizes are actually awarded in Stockholm. What is the significance of December 10?

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2 Comments:
Blogger robynl said...
Dec. 10th is the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death.

Blogger Denise Patrick said...
Good job, Robyn!

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