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Alfred Nobel

Written By Admin on Thursday, 10 May 2012 | Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Man Behind the Nobel Prize

Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been honoring men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace. The foundations for the prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize. But who was Alfred Nobel? Meet Alfred Nobel - scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, author and pacifist.

Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 21, 1833. His family was descended from Olof Rudbeck, the best-known technical genius in Sweden in the 17th century, an era in which Sweden was a great power in northern Europe. Nobel was fluent in several languages, and wrote poetry and drama. Nobel was also very interested in social and peace-related issues, and held views that were considered radical during his time.

1833
Alfred Nobel is born in Stockholm, Sweden. In the same year, his father – Immanuel Nobel – goes bankrupt.
1837
Immanuel Nobel travels to Finland and then to St Petersburg, Russia, where he starts a mechanical workshop; he leaves his family behind in Sweden.
1842
The Nobel family is reunited in St Petersburg.
1850-1852
Alfred Nobel goes to Paris and works for one year in the laboratory of T. Jules Pelouze. He also travels to Italy, Germany and the United States (US).
1853-1856
The Crimean War rages.
The Nobel Company flourishes at first, but goes bankrupt as the war ends and the Russian military cancels orders.

Alfred Nobel searches desperately for new products. Nikolai N. Zinin, Nobel's chemistry teacher, reminds him of nitroglycerin.
1862
Alfred Nobel starts his experiments with nitroglycerin.
1863
Nobel obtains the first patent on nitroglycerin (blasting oil) as an industrial explosive. He develops and patents a detonator (blasting cap) for triggering the explosion of nitroglycerin. He also moves to Stockholm, where he continues his experiments.
1864
Emil, Alfred Nobel's brother, is killed during the preparation of nitroglycerin at Heleneborg, Stockholm.

Nobel continues his experiments and forms the company Nitroglycerin AB in Stockholm, Sweden.
1865
Alfred Nobel improves the blasting cap design and moves to Germany to set up the Alfred Nobel & Co Factory in Krümmel near Hamburg.
1866
Nobel establishes the United States Blasting Oil Company in the US.

A violent explosion destroys the Krümmel plant. Experimenting on a raft anchored on the river Elbe, Alfred Nobel tries to make nitroglycerin safer to handle. He finds that nitroglycerin is stabilized by the addition of kieselguhr (a siliceous deposit; also known as diatomaceous earth), and calls this mixture dynamite.
1867
Alfred Nobel obtains a patent for dynamite.
1871
Nobel establishes the British Dynamite Company (Ardeer, Scotland, UK). In 1877 the company name is changed to Nobel's Explosives Company.
1872
Immanuel, Alfred Nobel's father, passes away.
1873
At the age of 40 Alfred Nobel is a wealthy man. He moves to Paris and settles at Avenue Malakoff.

The manufacture of nitroglycerin and dynamite starts at Ardeer.
1875
Alfred Nobel invents blasting gelatine in Paris and patents it in 1876. He establishes Société Générale pour la Fabrication de la Dynamite in Paris, France.
1876
Dynamitaktiengesellschaft (DAG), formerly Alfred Nobel & Co (Hamburg, Germany), is formed.

Alfred Nobel advertises for a housekeeper/personal secretary, meets with Bertha Kinsky von Chinic und Tettau (later von Suttner) and hires her. She leaves his employment after a short time and becomes a leading peace activist.
1880
Dynamite Nobel is formed by merging Nobel's Italian and Swiss companies.
1881
Alfred Nobel buys an estate and laboratory at Sevran outside Paris.
1885
German Union is formed by merging DAG and a group of German dynamite companies.
1886
Nobel-Dynamite Trust Co (London, UK) is formed by merging DAG and the Nobel's Explosives Company.
1887
Nobel obtains a patent for the blasting powder "ballistite" in France.
1889
Andriette, Alfred Nobel's mother, passes away.
1891
Alfred Nobel leaves Paris and settles in San Remo, Italy, after a dispute with the French government over ballistite.
1893
Alfred Nobel hires Ragnar Sohlman, who he later names executor of his will and testament.
1894
Alfred Nobel buys a small machine works (Bofors-Gullspång) and a manor (Björkborn) at Karlskoga, Sweden.
1895
The third and final will of Alfred Nobel is signed at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris.
1896
Alfred Nobel dies at his home in San Remo, Italy, on 10 December 1896.

On November 27, 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will in Paris. When it was opened and read after his death, the will caused a lot of controversy both in Sweden and internationally, as Nobel had left much of his wealth for the establishment of a prize! His family opposed the establishment of the Nobel Prize, and the prize awarders he named refused to do what he had requested in his will. It was five years before the first Nobel Prize could be awarded in 1901.

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