Alfred Nobel The Man And His Prize

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Alfred Nobel: The Man And His Prize Essay, Research Paper Though most people have heard of the Nobel prizes, only a small fraction of these individuals are familiar with the intriguing life and achievements of the prizes’ founder and namesake, Alfred Bernhard Nobel. Equally interesting are the contents of Nobel’s will and the subsequent annual granting of prizes, funded by his lifetime savings. These prizes are viewed internationally as the most respectable signs of achievement in each of the six categories in which they are awarded. While Nobel was a man of many talents and achievements, his life was also saturated with much hardship and anxiety. This aspect of his life contributes strongly to the fascination and uniqueness associated with Nobel’s existence.

Investigation into the early life of Alfred Nobel, along with his lifelong studies, scientific advancements, and social situation, can further development of an extensive sense of understanding and esteem of both the winners and founder of the Nobel Prize.Throughout his childhood in Stockholm, Sweden, Alfred Nobel was sickly, suffering from severe head and back aches, digestive problems, and a heart condition. Thus, young Alfred experienced very little formal schooling-some may even go so far as to proclaim him a primarily self-taught autodydact. However, there is evidence that his mother and some hired tutors contributed to his education. Due to his lack of actual schooling and extremely minimal exposure to other youths, Nobel never developed the social skills he would so

desperately desire in later life. He was instead a very negative being, constantly worrying, and depending on his sole companion: his mother. Illness and social incompetence were not the only vices of Nobel’s early life. When Alfred was but four years of age, family bankruptcy forced his father, Immanuel, to flee to Russia in search of income. Meanwhile, Alfred’s mother ran a grocery store in Sweden in order to modestly support the family, which included Alfred’s two older brothers, Robert and Ludwig, along with a youngest son named Emil. Hope began to appear for the Nobels when Immanuel Nobel, a clever engineer and inventor, developed a submarine mine designed to protect the port of St. Petersburg and succeeded in selling it to the Russian Czar, Nicholas I.At the age of

sixteen, Alfred Nobel left his family, then located in Russia, and headed West for the United States, studying under Ericsson for the greater portion of four years. Although he spent only a short period of time in Paris during his early years, he found it most amiable. A truly brilliant man, Nobel was fluent in English, French, German, Russian, and Swedish by the age of seventeen. Labeled by Victor Hugo as “Europe’s richest vagabond”, much of Nobel’s multilingual ability can probably be attributed to the vast amount of travelling he did throughout his life. Nobel’s monetary wealth, however, came from a variety of sources, including family involvement in the Russian oil industry and personal income as a pioneer in the development of explosives. Having created his first

explosion by placing a glass tube filled with nitroglycerine in a gun powder-filled tin can, Nobel began to realize nitroglycerine’s potential as a useful explosive. In 1863, just one year after the first tin can explosion, Nobel was pleased to introduce liquid nitroglycerine as a suitable substance for rock blasting, since black powder was the only available explosive at the time, used primarily in battle. However, as Nobel would discover yet another year later, upon a tragic explosion resulting in his younger brother’s death, his work with nitroglycerine was only in its elementary stages and had many modifications yet to be made. In 1867, Nobel received a patent on his very significant discovery of a method to transform unstable liquid nitroglycerine into a more stable