Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born October 21, 1833 in Stockholm Sweden. Nobel, who invented dynamite, endowed a $9 million fund in his will. The interest on this endowment was to be used as awards for people whose work most benefited humanity. He wanted the profit from his invention to be used to reward human ingenuity. First awarded in 1901, the Nobel Prize is still the most honored in the world.
In 1842 Nobel's family moved to St. Petersburg, Russia where he obtained his education. He traveled widely as a young man, becoming fluent in five languages. Nobel was interested in literature and wrote novels, poetry and plays in his spare time. In the 1860s he began experiments with nitroglycerin in his father's factory. He tried many ways to stabilize this highly volatile material. Nobel discovered that a mix of nitroglycerin and a fine porous powder called kieselguhr was most effective. He named this mixture dynamite, and received a patent in 1867.
He set up factories around the world to manufacture dynamite and other explosives. Construction and mining companies, and the military ordered large quantities of this relatively safe explosive. Sales of dynamite brought Nobel great wealth. His other chemical research provided valuable information on the development of artificial rubber, leather, silk and precious stones.
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