Alfred Bernhard Nobel
(October 21, 1833 –
December 10, 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, philanthropist and founder of the Nobel Prize.
Nobel lived during the 19th century’s revolutionary developments in science, culture and society. He played a key role in reshaping the world with the help of his inventions like explosives, especially the dynamite.
His explosives played a major role in the expansion of the communication systems of that era like railroads, tunnels, bridges and roads.
Born in Stockholm, Nobel was the third son of Immanuel Nobel, an inventor and engineer, and Carolina Andriette Nobel. He, however, lived and visited several places across the world over the years.
It was in 1860s that Nobel’s interests in developing explosives grew while working with his father in Stockholm.
As the explosive made with nitroglycerin or blasting oil was risky to transport to faraway places, Nobel decided to establish factories in several European countries including Norway, Finland, Russia and Germany.
However, it became clear for Nobel that pure nitroglycerin or blasting oil was not the perfect explosive as there were several accidental explosions causing collateral damages.After experiments with different materials, Nobel finally settled on a type of porous sand known as kieselguhr, which is filled with pores created by fossilized diatoms. When dough made of kieselguhr is mixed with nitroglycerin and shaped into sticks, they could explode by using a detonator cap.