Alfred Nobel: the Man Behind the Prize.

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  • Topic: Nobel Prize, Dynamite, Alfred Nobel
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  • Published : April 16, 2005
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Alfred Nobel: The Man behind the Prize.

Alfred Nobel is known for starting the Nobel Prize. This prize is given every year to some of the greatest minds in the world who through their work, help to better society. In opposition to the improvement of society, is the fact that Nobel's other known inventions brought much death and destruction to the world (Frost). This combination of inventions helps to pose the question who was Alfred Nobel, and why did Nobel create this prize to help the world. In this paper I will find out who was the man behind the inventions that brought so much death and destruction to the world. I will also find out why he created this prize to have people work to better the planet and protect life itself. Lastly there have been many awards given out, and I will investigate some of the winners and the role that the Nobel Prize played in their subsequent lives. It seems to me that if it was not for Alfred Nobel's invention of blasting caps and dynamite the industrial revolution and the great gold rush wouldn't be the same as we know it today. The explosive properties of dynamite allowed people to move mountains to build new roads, and dig deeper mines to reach the vast wealth underground. This creation made one of the biggest impacts in the world in my opinion, and it fascinates me to know that the creator of something so powerful seems to have shifted direction in his later years to a more peaceful manner. The reason I wrote this report is that I wanted to find out where Nobel came from and what forces played a role in his creation of such a destructive power. Also, I am very curious what caused his shift in perspective to create a prize to better society. Over the years there have been many winners of the 5 Nobel prizes, and I intend to investigate some of their individual contributions to help determine criteria for winning the prizes.

Alfred Nobel was born to Immanuel and Andriette Nobel in Stockholm Sweden on October 21 1833 (Frost). Nobel was the 2nd youngest of 4 children. His father, Immanuel Nobel, was a great inventor but a very poor business man and his mother, whom he dearly loved, "kept the family together" (Fant). After many ill-fated business decisions and going bankrupt, Immanuel Nobel decided to move the family to Russia in the hopes of starting a new life (Fant). The Nobel family settled in St. Petersburg, Russia where Immanuel Nobel started a mechanical workshop. Alfred Nobel started to attend school in St. Petersburg where he excelled in his studies, especially chemistry (Fant). As Alfred Nobel grew into a young man he became well traveled, and consequently learned five different languages fluently (Fant). In his spare time he wrote novels, poetry, and plays (Fant). As Nobel got older, he started to help in his father's workshop. While working at the workshop Nobel learned about and became fascinated by nitroglycerin (Frost). Nobel and his father became very competitive in trying to find out who was better at creating a "massive explosion" (Frost). Young Nobel finally won the competition with his father by using nitroglycerin to create a larger explosive device (Frost). Afterwards, Alfred Nobel discovered how to utilize the power contained within the nitroglycerin compound; however it was still a very volatile substance (Dynamite). Nobel knew there was a huge potential for such an explosive but he needed to figure out a way to make it safer. Nobel "worked 16 hours a day" to find out how to harness the power of this unstable destructive substance (Dynamite). In 1864 a large amount of nitroglycerin exploded accidentally at the factory where Nobel worked with the dangerous substance (Frost). Nobel's younger brother, Emil, was killed in the accident. Determined to find a way to make this explosive safer to use, Nobel returned to work the next day and worked day and night. Nobel never mentioned the accident but did move his experiment to an offshore barge (Frost). After many...
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