Alfred Nobel

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Alfred Bernhard Nobel (About this sound pronunciation ) (21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. He is the inventor of dynamite. Nobel also owned Bofors, which he had redirected from its previous role as primarily an iron and steel producer to a major manufacturer of cannon and other armaments. Nobel held 355 different patents, dynamite being the most famous. In his last will, he used his enormous fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes. The synthetic element nobelium was named after him.

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Personal background

Alfred Nobel was the third son of Immanuel Nobel (1801–1872) and Andriette Ahlsell Nobel (1805–1889). Born in Stockholm on 21 October 1833, he went with his family to Saint Petersburg in 1842, where his father (who had invented modern plywood) started a "torpedo" works. Alfred studied chemistry with Professor Nikolay Nikolaevich Zinin. When Alfred was 18, he went to the United States to study chemistry for four years and worked for a short period under John Ericsson.[1] who designed the American Civil War ironclad USS Monitor. In 1859, the factory was left to the care of the second son, Ludvig Nobel (1831–1888), who greatly improved the business. Alfred, returning to Sweden with his father after the bankruptcy of their family business, devoted himself to the study of explosives, and especially to the safe manufacture and use of nitroglycerine (discovered in 1847 by Ascanio Sobrero, one of his fellow students under Théophile-Jules Pelouze at the University of Torino). A big explosion occurred on the 3 September 1864 at their factory in Heleneborg in Stockholm, killing five people. Among them was Alfred's younger brother Emil.

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