Alfred Nobel

Chemist and Inventor

Brief Information

  • Born: October 21, 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden
  • Died: December 10, 1896 in San Remo, Italy
  • Other Names: Nobel, Alfred Bernhard
  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Occupation: Chemist

Early Life

Alfred Nobel was born on October 21, 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden. As a child he was interested in engineering and chemistry like his father, a manufacturer of mines and other explosives. Nobel worked at the laboratory of French chemist Théophile Jules Pelouze until returning to Sweden in 1863.

Invention of Dynamite

Nobel experimented on Ascanio Sobrero's invention of nitroglycerine to create a better firing method with his own invention, the mercury fulminate cap. After a large factory explosion, Nobel made a safer and more portable version. He patented it as dynamite in 1867.


After he patented dynamite, he became very wealthy and constructed multiple factories to feed the growing demand. Many people tried to copy his work, causing him to travel around the world fighting may legal battles.


In his will he left a large fortune of 9.2 million dollars to a foundation he created, the Nobel Foundation. This foundation awards winners with prizes annually and the tradition has been going on since 1901.


By Him:"Second to agriculture, humbug is the biggest industry of our age."

About Him:"Alfred Nobel's greatness lay in his ability to combine the penetrating mind of the scientist and inventor with the forward-looking dynamism of the industrialist."


Because of Nobel the mining industry was improved greatly. Also the Nobel Foundation created a prize recognizing achievements and humanitarian efforts creating recognition for these high achievers.

Annotated Bibliography


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3."Alfred Nobel." World of Chemistry. Gale, 2006. Biography in Context. Web. 9 May 2016.

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4. Gale Biography in Context, 2010

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5."Safe Enough to Kill: Advances in the Chemistry of Explosives." Science and Its Times. Ed. Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Biography in Context. Web. 9 May 2016.

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6."A prize Alfred Nobel never intended to give." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada] 16 Oct. 2013: B2.Biography in Context. Web. 9 May 2016.

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7."Selected Websites on Alfred Nobel's Life and Works." Gale Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2008.Biography in Context. Web. 9 May 2016.

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8.DE SNOO, GEERT, and JOERI BERTELS. "A Nobel Prize for Sustainability, Perhaps?" Science 294.5541 (2001): 303. Biography in Context. Web. 9 May 2016.

This site helped me find out more about the prize. It also provided commentary on the Prize's system.

9,"The Fields Medal is the greatest prize in maths; Alfred Nobel's failure to create a mathematics prize has long bothered mathematicians." Telegraph Online 13 Aug. 2014. Biography in Context. Web. 9 May 2016.

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10.Jackson, Donald Dale. "While he expected the worst, Nobel hoped for the best; the inventor of dynamite was a gloomy skeptic who left a legacy that honors achievement." Smithsonian Nov. 1988: 201+. Biography in Context. Web. 9 May 2016.

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