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Alfred Nobel Biography

Biography | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Learning Pod

Does anything ring a bell when you hear the name Alfred Nobel? Alfred Nobel was the founder of the well known Nobel prizes. A scientist, an inventor and also a businessman, Alfred Nobel was a dynamite personality.

Childhood and Education

Alfred Nobel was born on October 21, 1833 in Stockholm in Sweden. His father Immanuel Nobel was an engineer. Also an inventor, Alfred’s father built bridges and experimented with rocks. Alfred was an intelligent and curious child. He loved to study but often had to stay home, away from school, because he used to remain sick. In 1842 Alfred’s family moved to Russia as his father’s business was doing well there. Alfred used to spend a lot of time with his father in the factory and always wondered why people needed war. His father used to build mines used in wars. In Russia Alfred was tutored at home and learnt English, French, German and Russian languages. Alfred’s father wanted him to be a scientist like him but Alfred’s interest lay in Literature and poetry, though he also liked Chemistry and Physics. His father sent him to Paris to study to become a chemical engineer. After a year in Paris, Alfred was sent to the United States to learn technical skills but he learned poetry and a collection of Literature; where his interests lay.

Explosives Business

At the age of 19 Alfred decided to return to Russia to help his father and brother with the factory work. He helped his father in the factory, making military equipment for Russia during the Crimean War. Unfortunately Russia lost the Crimean war which resulted in closing down of Alfred’s father’s factory. Alfred’s father and mother decided to leave Russia and move to Sweden, their homeland. But Alfred and his two brothers decided to remain in Russia in order to try and save what was left of the business.

Discovery of Dynamite

Alfred then concentrated on his experiment with developing nitroglycerine as an explosive. This invention was a great success and Alfred Nobel set up a factory in Sweden, his hometown. His experiment was used at mines and construction lands. But nitroglycerine was a dangerous explosive and it would explode if it was handled even a little carelessly. It was in 1864 that a huge explosion in the Swedish factory of Alfred killed 5 people, including his younger brother Emil. This affected Alfred a great deal.

People began to criticize Alfred Nobel for inventing such a dangerous and life threatening explosive. People did not want such a factory in the middle of the city. So Alfred moved his factory onto a ship which was in the middle of a lake. Alfred Nobel then set out to develop explosives which are safer for the workers. It was in 1867 that Nobel made a mixture of nitroglycerine with an absorbent substance, and he patented it with the name ‘Dynamite’. He conducted an open experiment with Dynamite in Germany and became recognized for his efforts.

World Peace and Nobel Prize

Alfred Nobel was deeply distressed with the fact that his inventions of explosives could kill several people. He wanted to find a way that would lead to world peace. He did not want to be remembered as a person who invented explosives. Thus, Alfred Nobel set aside his fortune and his estate to launch Nobel Prizes. These prizes were to be given to men and women for outstanding achievements in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Medicine and Literature and most importantly for working towards World Peace. Nobel became very weak in 1896 and died of a heart attack the same year on December 10. Since then, every year Nobel prizes have been awarded to people who have excelled in the Sciences, specially world peace and happiness.

To read more interesting biographies of famous people, browse though our huge collection of short biographies for kids.