Biography of Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel:

Date of Birth: 1833

Date of Death:  1896

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel  is the great representative of science.He worked all his life to make nitroglycerine more explosive. Alfred is remembered for his invention of dynamite and gun powder .At present ,dynamite is being used for many purposes such as in the battlefield ,road construction,mine blasting,etc.In the latter half of his life Alfred Nobel donated all his property to the cause of scientific development. Alfred traveled widely in countries like Sweden,Germany,France,and America,to improve his working knowledge of chemicals .He joined Professor T.J Pelouze’s laboratory in France and worked there for quite some time.

While working in Professor Pelouze’s laboratory,Alfred happened to meet a young Italian research student whose name was Ascanio Sobrero. Sobrero was a dedicated research scholar who had invented nitroglycerine,a highly explosive liquid.Alfred became very interested in nitroglycerine,it was unpredictably explosive and to deal this liquid was extremely dangerous. Although Sobrero himself worked very hard,he could not find a safety measure to prevent nitroglycerine from accidentally exploding. As a result,Sobrero had lost all hope of making any further headway.

Apparently Alfred found nitroglycerine a gift in disguise ,but he too faced similar problems as Sobrero had.The main question was the same as it was before ,what could be the effective safety measure to prevent unwanted explosions of nitroglycerine.

Alfred returned from the educational tour abroad and embarked upon the nitroglycerine project with all his ability.When he was working on nitroglycerine,Alfred was sure that nitroglycerine could be used for several different useful purposes. But the main problem was how to develop a controlled method for the detonating of nitroglycerine. After years of struggle and experimentation and also putting his ife at grave risk ,eventually Alfred succeeded in preventing unwanted explosions of nitroglycerine.

Alfred Nobel was born in Stockholm ,Sweden on October 21,1883. Mr.Emmanuel Nobel and his wife Andrietta were filled with intense joy.Mr.Emmanuel was an intelligent man whose naval mines designs were highly successful. Emanuel Nobel was a man of versatile genius,who has also credited as a pioneer of arms manufacturer and for designing steam engines. Mr.Emanuel was had working in order to provide for his family,but he was very careless about his expenditure. As a result,most of his time,he was living in a financial crisis.

Mr.Emanuel’s woes multiplied when his construction company tumbled down,and he plunged into the abyss of heavy debt.Mr.Emanuel had a huge loan to pay off to the creditors,but he hadn’t any definite source of income to pay off the debts.But this was not the only  problem he had to constantly keep hiding from the sight of his creditors. Mr.Emmanuel escaped to Finland and later to Russia in1837,so that he could earn enough to keep himself and his family afloat. Alfred’s mother started a grocery shop in Stockholm to help her family.

Alfred Nobel,as a boy,spent his days in poverty. His family was struggling hard to come out of the debt that Mr. Emmanuel owed Mrs.Nobel could earn very little and, also, Mr.Emmanuel was still struggling hard to establish his enterprise in St.Petersburg ,Russia.But Mrs.Nobel had great willpower and never gave up even in the most difficult times. She expanded her grocery shop to support the growing needs of their family.Although the income from the shop was small,at least it was constant.

Alfred was studying at home and his mother was giving him the best education she could.Little Alfred was a born genius.He was learning easily what his mother taught him. Mrs. Nobel was regularly sending letters to Mr. Emmanuel and letting him know the progress their son was making. Mr. Emmanuel was very happy and excited at the thought of seeing his son again in the near future.

Alfred was not only good on studies;he was also good at the business counter and helped his mother in her grocery shop.
Mr. Emmanuel’s new enterprise became a success in St.Petersburg. He was manufacturing some type of modified mechanical equipment which could be useful to fight against an enemy.He also produced some explosive devices which could be used as naval mines to blast enemy ships.The higher authorities of the Tsar’s government liked Mr. Emmanuel’s latest devices as a result Mr.Emanuel had won a big contract with the Russian government to work on land and sea mines.This new contract made Mr.Emmanuel financially secure and mentally relaxed.As he was now earning well he invited his  family to Russia.

Mr.Emmanuel was extremely happy to receive his family in Russia .Of course,after several years of separation,the family was now reunited.When Alfred was 17-years old he began help his father at his works in the mines. Mr Emmanuel’s job was to prepare the explosives to blast inside the mines.Most of the time Mr Emmanuel was also taking his son to the working sites and showing him the work he was doing there. Watching his father working with chemicals and explosives created Alfred’s early interest in chemistry.

Alfred had received his early education at home being taught by his mother.Along with his study,Alfred was also helping his father a great deal. When Alfred was 20-year-old his father arranged a trip to Europe thinking his son would meet great scholars and increase his knowledge.

While traveling in Europe Alfred met Mr. Ascanio in Italy. Mr. Ascanio was a chemist who had invented nitroglycerine as a result of serendipity. Mr. Ascanio told Alfred that when glycerine is mixed sulfuric acids the resulting liquid is a highly explosive substance.Alfred was inspired to work on this explosive chemical and he immediately stopped his European tour and went to Russia,where his father was also working in the same direction,thus Alfred returned to Russia before he had completed two years of the European tour. Alfred was agog with excitement at the thought of experimenting with nitroglycerine in his father laboratory. Alfred told his father all about his meeting with Mr. Ascanio and his discovery of nitroglycerine. Mr. Emmanuel was very happy to learn that his son wanted to find safety measures to use nitroglycerine for useful purposes and not only as a weapon in future of war.As nitroglycerine was highly explosive liquid and very volatile,Emmanuel cautioned Alfred to handle the substance with extreme care.

alfred in lab

Alfred in lab

During this two year period Mr. Emmanuel’s business was going well. As a result Mr.Emmanuel had started a company of his own. After he made some money from this new company the first thing Mr.Emmanuel did was pay off  the debts he owed. Now Mr.Emmanuel did not need to keep hiding from the sight of his creditors, he could strut about like a proud peacock. But misfortune and bad luck had not completely left Mr.Emmanuel.During this time the Crimean War had begun in Russia, all the Russian orders for explosives were declared null and void as the Russians had lost the war.Consequently there was an end to all the contracts ,which had been made by previous government, with the Nobel Companies. The Nobel Company had to be closed down at once.Once again the Nobel family had to endure the bitter taste  of poverty. Day by day things went wrong and as a result, Mr. Emmanuel found himself once again on the brink of bankruptcy.

Mr. and Mrs Nobel decided to leave Russia and go to Sweden with their sons Alfred and Emil, but the other two sons ,Robert and Ludwig,stayed behind in Russia. These two brothers had decided to establish another company in under a new names so that they could continue the family tradition. They started an Oil company in the southern part of Russia.This company proved to be extremely successful venture that helped to recover their lost glory in the business world.

Alfred began his experiments with nitroglycerine afresh in Stockholm.He was determined to find a perfect safety measure to make detonating nitroglycerine much safer but more explosive. Alfred was not alone in the experimentation of nitroglycerine,his father Emmanuel and younger brother Emil were also assisting him.

Interestingly,while working on nitroglycerine,Alfred happened to invent gunpowder. Alfred was very happy when he invented highly explosive gunpowder which could be used in ammunition and mining. Alfred carried out further experiment that made gunpowder even more explosive and was very destructive. On October 14, 1865 Alfred was awarded  a patent for his invention of gunpowder. At the same time, Alfred was also producing nitroglycerine,but its reliable safety system was a problem that was still unsolved and frustrated Alfred all the time. Alfred spent long hours in his laboratory trying to find a definite device which would prevent unwanted explosion of nitroglycerine. Due to this hazardous failing in the production of nitroglycerine, many unwanted explosions had taken place in the nitroglycerine production plants in Stockholm. As nitroglycerine was such a highly unpredictable explosive, Alfred was ordered to shift the manufacturing plants the outskirts of Stockholm to avoid causing damage or death to anyone.

Alfred was looking for a large piece of barren land to which he could shift his factory. He found a suitable place at Lake Malaren that ideal for the nitroglycerine plant. By 1864 Alfred began to produce and distribute a large quantity of nitroglycerine to many companies throughout Sweden and abroad.His business was flourishing well, but still Alfred was very nervous because there wasn’t a safety device to avoid the unwanted explosion of nitroglycerine.

One day when Mr. Emmanuel and Emil were working in the stockroom there was suddenly a huge explosion that knocked both Mr.Emmanuel and Emil on the ground. Mr. Emmanuel was badly injured but, very sadly, Emil, who stood next to father, was killed on the spot.

This was a devastating blow of Alfred Nobel.The accident had made his father handicapped for life, and Alfred had lost his dear brother, Emil, forever. Although Alfred was very upset by the accident,he did not lose heart. Alfred started to look for a new place to establish a similar factory. Ludwig came from St. Peterburg to accompany his brother and Alfred and Ludwig laid the foundation of the new factory and were ready to face the challenges lying ahead.

Once again Alfred’s new company was producing explosives. His company gave several demonstration for many companies which wanted to sell this highly explosive liquid. Some companies showed interest in collaborating with the Nobel companies to produce nitroglycerine.

Alfred won many countries in contract.After other companies collaborated with Nobel Explosion Company,they began to produce nitroglycerine around the world. Now Alfred was making a lot of money and his reputation as a brilliant inventor was firmly establish in Europe .

The risk of unwanted explosion of nitroglycerine was not fully eliminated, but it was reduced to some extent. Nitroglycerine had to be used with great care; the slightest mistake could result in an unwanted explosion that could result in the loss of life and property. Alfred Nobel was desperately working to find a reliable safety measure.

While Alfred Nobel was working hard to find a possible safety measure to prevent nitroglycerine from making unwanted explosion, some accidents occurred in the companies which were producing nitroglycerine. This caused Alfred great distress and frustration as he was morally responsible for the accidents.

The increasing numbers of accidental explosion among the nitroglycerine production compelled Alfred to find the remedy at the earliest possible, or face a huge financial loss. Alfred Nobel stopped all the other activities and got down to the series of experiments to find reliable safety device.After many months of hard work, Alfred eventually succeeded in making an effective material that absorbed leaking nitroglycerine and made it entirely safe.



“Now there won’t be any unwanted explosion in the production of nitroglycerine, “said Alfred to his brother Ludwig.Actually, Alfred mixed nitroglycerine with silica that turned into a thick paste. Later, this thick paste was given a rod liked shape so that it could be easily inserted inside the drilling holes for the explosion. For the detonation of these nitroglycerine rods, Alfred also made a detonator that could be ignited by lighting a fuse. Alfred got the patent for this highly explosive material called DYNAMITE in 1867.

Dynamite was a great aid for mining explosion, rock blasting, tunnel drilling, canal building, etc. Later dynamite was modified and used a form of military hardware. Subsequent experiments made dynamite even more explosive and devastating if used on the battlefield.

Today dynamite is being used to blow up unwanted rocks while making tunnels, roads, etc. The use of dynamite has made many difficult works much easier and more economical too.

Alfred Nobel dedicated  his life to the cause of scientific experiments and inventions. He always wanted to see all the scientists working together for the welfare of human beings. To encourage people to work for greater achievements, Alfred Nobel created a huge fund. The yearly interest on fund is awarded to the people who have made an immense contribution in the fields such as chemistry, physics, medicine, literature and peace. Now economics has also been included. The awards are named after Alfred Nobel, the Nobel prize and the Nobel peace prize.

Medal of Nobelprize

Medal of Nobelprize

Alfred Nobel’s adventurous life was fully dedicated to the service of science.Alfred Nobel died on December 10, 1896 at the age of 63. His will was read out in which he declared that he wished a fund of ’31 million Swedish Krone be created so that the interest on this fund could be used to give awards to encourage people to work for making a better world to live in.’

The king awards the Nobel Prizes in Stockholm,but the Nobel Peace Prize is given out in Oslo,Norway,in a presence of the Royal family. To win a Nobel Prize is the matter of immense prestige, not only for the individual who wins it,but also for the nation he or she belongs to.

Nobel Prizes were awarded for the first time in 1901. The artist Rune Karlzon designed the commemorative medal. The artist Rune Karlzon designed the commemorative medal.

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