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Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prizes

Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prizes

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Published by ElizabethDarcy
Alfred Nobel was the founder of the now acclaimed Nobel Prizes. This paper gives a brief insight into the life of Alfred Nobel and his legacy.
Alfred Nobel was the founder of the now acclaimed Nobel Prizes. This paper gives a brief insight into the life of Alfred Nobel and his legacy.

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Published by: ElizabethDarcy on Mar 27, 2013
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ALFRED NOBELANDTHE NOBEL PRIZESAkshaya MadhavanHS08H004
ALFRED NOBEL
Alfred Bernhard Nobel born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden was aSwedish  chemist, engineer, innovator, armaments manufacturer and theinventor of dynamite. He ownedBofors, a major armaments manufacturer, which he had redirected from its
 
 previous role as an iron and steel mill. In his last will, he used his enormous fortune toinstitute the Nobel Prizes. Thesynthetic element nobeliumwas named after him. Alfred Nobel was the third son of Immanuel Nobel(1801-1872) and Andriette Ahlsell Nobel (1805-1889). Born inStockholmon 21 October 1833, he went with his family in1842 toSaint Petersburg, where his father (who had invented modernplywood) started a "torpedo"works. Alfred studied chemistry with Professor  Nikolay Nikolaevich Zinin. His family was descended from none other than Olof Rudbeck, the best-known technicalgenius of Sweden's 17th century era as a Great Power in Northern Europe. Having gonethrough a recent bankruptcy, when Alfred was five years old his father Immanuel Nobelmoved to St. Petersburg, where he started a mechanical workshop for the manufacture of land mines. In 1842, when Alfred was nine years old, the rest of the family also moved toSt. Petersburg. By then his father's fortunes had improved, enabling the family to live inhigh bourgeois style. At the time, St. Petersburg was a world metropolis, alive withscientific, social, and cultural life. Immanuel Nobel's sons did not attend school, but wereinstead educated at home by outstanding teachers at the level of university professor. Theinstruction they provided focused on both the humanities and the natural sciences.Alfred spent his most important formative years in the Russian capital. Despite the lack of formal secondary and tertiary level education, Nobel gained proficiency in sixlanguages: Swedish, French, Russian, English, German and Italian. With these sixlanguages, which he seemed to have mastered well, he laid the foundation for thecosmopolitan nature that would later become so prominent in his life. He also developedliterary skills to write poetry in English.' His 
, a prose tragedy in four acts aboutBeatrice Cenci, partly inspired byPercy Bysshe Shelley's 
, was printed whilehe was dying. The entire stock except for three copies was destroyed immediately after his death, being regarded as scandalous and blasphemous. The first surviving edition(bilingual Swedish-Esperanto) was published in Sweden in 2003. The play has beentranslated to Slovenian via the Esperanto version.When Alfred was 18, he went to the United States to study chemistry for four years andworked for a short period under John Ericsson.In 1859, the factory was left to the care of the second son,Ludvig Nobel(1831-1888), who greatly enlarged it. Alfred, returning toSweden with his father after the bankruptcy of their family business, devoted himself tothe study of explosives,and especially to the safe manufacture and use of nitroglycerine  which had been discovered in 1847 byAscanio Sobrero, one of his fellow students under Théophile-Jules Pelouzeat theUniversity of Torino.A big explosion occurred on 3 September 1864 at their factory inHeleneborgin Stockholm, killing five people, amongthem Alfred's younger brother Emil.The foundations of the Nobel Prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his lastwill, leaving much of his wealth for its establishment. Since 1901, the prize has honoredmen and women for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature,and for work in peace.
 
Though Nobel remained unmarried, his biographers note that he had at least three loves. Nobel's first love was in Russia with a girl named Alexandra, who rejected his proposal.In 1876Bertha Kinskybecame Alfred Nobel's secretary but after only a brief stay lefthim to marry her old flame, Baron Arthur Gundaccar von Suttner. Though her personalcontact with Alfred Nobel had been brief, she corresponded with him until his death in1896, and it is believed that she was a major influence in his decision to include a peace prize among those prizes provided in his will. Bertha von Suttner was awarded the 1905 Nobel Peace prize, 'for her sincere peace activities'. Nobel's third and long-lasting love was with a flower girl named Sofie Hess from Vienna.This liaison lasted for 18 years and in many of the exchanged letters, Nobel addressed hislove as 'Madame Sofie Nobel'. After his death, according to his biographers - Evlanoff and Flour, and Fant - Nobel's letters were locked within the Nobel Institute in Stockholmand became the best kept secret of the time. They were only released in 1955, to beincluded with the biographical data of Nobel. Nobel was elected a member of theRoyal Swedish Academy of Sciencesin 1884, thesame institution that would later select the laureates for two of the Nobel prizes, and hereceived anhonorary doctoratefromUppsala Universityin 1893. Alfred Nobel always thought of himself as sickly and was quite prone to chest colds. Thiscombined with the knowledge that his inventions were more valued as a tool of destruction drove him to fits of depression which caused his heart to weaken and finallygive in to a stroke.He is buried in Norra begravningsplatseninStockholm.
WORKS
During the years 1850-52, Alfred was allowed a few study-oriented stays abroad. Hespent one year in Paris with the famous chemist Jules Pelouze, a professor at the Collègede France who had just opened a private training laboratory. Pelouze, who incidentally

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