Inventors who changed the world
Alfred Nobel (1833–1896) - dynamite
Who was the man whose name is today associated with prestigious awards honoring the most important figures from the world of science?
Born in 1833, Alfred Nobel had someone to model himself from an early age - his father, Immanuel, was an engineer and innovator who - after initial financial problems - made a significant fortune on inventions that improved his weapons.
Thanks to his father's fortune, young Alfred had the opportunity to study and travel around the world. In the Paris laboratory, he met, among others, Ascanio Sobrero - chemist and inventor of nitroglycerin, considered too dangerous to find practical use for it.
However, Alfred Nobel did not think so. The experiments he carried out after his return to Sweden initially seemed to confirm the popular opinion - in a series of explosions he died, among others Alfred's brother and several others. However, the undaunted inventor did not give up.
Due to concerns about the fate of the surrounding buildings, the local authorities forced him to move to a barge anchored on Lake Meler. Perseverance paid off. Alfred Nobel not only survived, which in itself is quite a feat, but he has mastered how to mass-produce nitroglycerin.
What's more, he developed a technology for soaking silica with nitroglycerine - the result of this procedure was the patenting of a paste called dynamite in 1867. For the practical use of dynamite, additional devices - a fuse and a detonator - also invented and patented by Nobel, turned out to be necessary.
The invention, initially designed to improve mining and construction work, brought its creator a fortune that again allowed him to travel around the world. Despite his wealth, Alfred Nobel did not rest on his laurels - he had 355 different patents for the rest of his life.
He left a will. The heir to his fortune was the Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the inventor's assets were to be created by a special fund. The profits generated by him, in accordance with the will of the founder, were to go to people who in the year preceding the awarding of the awards brought the greatest benefits to mankind in the field of physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, literature and peace.
An award in the field of medicine was also given to Egas Moniz, a promoter of lobotomy - a procedure that damages the brain, as a result of which the patient turns into a person without opinion, apathetic and passive. The controversial laureate is also the President of the United States, Barack Obama, who was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize at a time when his country waged two wars.
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